Abraham Lincoln may have been the most poetic of American presidents, but he was certainly not the only president-poet—the Library of Congress “Presidents as Poets” guide lists works by George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, John Quincy Adams, John Tyler, Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama in addition to Lincoln.
But American presidents as historical figures and symbolic icons are perhaps more important as poetic subjects (or objects) than as the actual writers of poems. For President’s Day, we’ve gathered collections of the classic poems written about the two presidents whose February birthdays have merged into this national holiday: George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.
On President Lincoln and Poetry:
Poems for President Lincoln
O Father Abraham!, An Introduction to Hyam Plutzik’s Poem for President Lincoln, by Edward Moran (2009)
From a poem to the Emancipation Proclamation... (2004)
Did you know Abraham Lincoln was a poet who wrote about suicide? (2004)
On President Obama and Poetry:
Poetry in the White House (2008)
Poetry vs. Prose in the Presidential Campaign? (2008)
Barack Obama's Poem Now a Video (2008)
Harold Bloom Comments on Barack Obama’s poems (2007)
The Intersection of Politics and Autobiography in Poetry, Obama’s poetry (2007)