03/28/2008 02:45 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Presidents and Poetry

What is the relationship between poetry and the American presidency? According to the Library of Congress (or at least its website), the bond is strong. The muse of verse has visited the White House on several occasions. George Washington scribbled some wistful, angst-ridden love poems as a teenager ("From your bright sparkling Eyes, I was undone"), and Jimmy Carter published a complete volume in 1995 ("well meaning" and "mediocre", sighed Michiko Kakutani in the New York Times). Abraham Lincoln, perhaps the most melancholic president, wrote some rather morbid poetry: "O death! Thou awe-inspiring prince/That keepst the world in fear."

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