Why Langston Hughes Still Reigns as a Poet for the Unchampioned
Fifty years after his death, Hughes’ extraordinary lyricism resonates with power to people
A New Poem is Commissioned to Honor the Soldiers Who Fight America’s Wars
Pulitzer Prize winning poet Yusef Komunyakaa writes “After the Burn Pits” for the National Portrait Gallery
A Smithsonian Historian Wanders the “Bardo,” Exploring the Spiritual World of the 19th Century
George Saunders’ new novel, “Lincoln in the Bardo” recalls the melancholy that hung over a nation at war
The Tradition of Presidential Portraiture, Explained
The transition of office holders includes the official commissioning of the portrait of the outgoing First Lady and President
How the 2016 MacArthur Genius Award Recipient Lauren Redniss Is Rethinking Biography
The visual biographer of Marie and Pierre Curie turns to her next subject, weather, lightning and climate change
Is Bob Dylan a Poet?
As the enigmatic singer, songwriter and troubadour takes the Nobel Prize in literature, one scholar ponders what his work is all about
What Langston Hughes’ Powerful Poem “I, Too" Tells Us About America's Past and Present
Smithsonian historian David Ward reflects on the work of Langston Hughes
Why It Takes a Great Rivalry to Produce Great Art
Smithsonian historian David Ward takes a look at a new book by Sebastian Smee on the contentious games artists play
Karl Marx, My Puppy ‘Max,’ Instagram and Me
A historian tries hard to understand modern society and buys a #cutepuppy
Should We Hate Poetry?
It was precisely because poetry wasn’t hated that Plato feared it, writes the Smithsonian’s senior historian David Ward, who loves poetry
Can the Civil War Still Inspire Today's Poets?
As epic verse about the American past falls victim to modernism, a poet who is also a historian calls for a revival
Poet and Musician Patti Smith’s Endless Search in Art and Life
The National Portrait Gallery’s senior historian David Ward takes a look at the rock 'n' roll legend's new memoir
What Artist Martha McDonald Might Teach Us About a Nation Divided
This fall, a one-woman show staged in one of Washington, D.C.’s most historic buildings will recall the sorrow of the Civil War
Why Can’t We Turn Our Eyes Away From the Grotesque and Macabre?
Alexander Gardner’s photographs of Civil War corpses were among the first to play to the uncomfortable attraction humans have for shocking images
What Gives Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” Its Power?
A Smithsonian poet examines its message and how it encapsulates what its author was all about
Vivid Images of Civil War Casualties Inspire a Scholar's Inner Muse
Alexander Gardner’s photography, a record of sacrifice and devastating loss, prompts a new creativity from the show's curator
A Poem Dedicated to Earth in the Age of Humans
National Portrait Gallery historian David Ward writes a new ode for the Anthropocene
Which General Was Better? Ulysses S. Grant or Robert E. Lee?
The historic rivalry between the South's polished general and the North's rough and rugged soldier is the subject of a new show at the Portrait Gallery
How Did the Cruellest Month Come to Be the Perfect 30 Days to Celebrate Poetry?
A Smithsonian historian makes the case why springtime is the best time to reawaken a thirst for verse
Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson and the War That Changed Poetry, Forever
The two titans of American poetry chronicled the death and destruction of the Civil War in their poems