Poetry

Ada Limón is the United States' 24th poet laureate.

Women Who Shaped History

Ada Limón Is a Poet Laureate for the 21st Century

Her work explores "what it looks like to have America in the room"

In “EmilyBlaster,” the gameplay is shooting at words to form Emily Dickinson poems.

You Can Now Play 'EmilyBlaster,' a Video Game Inspired by Emily Dickinson's Poetry

Players assemble poems by shooting at words in the '80s-style adventure

The "Gifts We Carry: Sounds of Migration and Memory” concert will combine musicians from several backgrounds and cultures, including Salar Nader on the tabla and Homayoun Sakhi, a master on the Afghan stringed instrument the rubab. 

After Long Absence, the Folklife Festival Returns to the National Mall

The much-loved summer event, featuring the United Arab Emirates and Earth Optimism programs, opens with a concert hosted by Yo-Yo Ma

Maya Angelou, pictured here in 2008, became the first Black woman to feature on a U.S. quarter this week. The celebrated poet and author died in 2014. 

Women Who Shaped History

Newly Minted Maya Angelou Quarters Enter Circulation and Make History

Here’s how to find one of the new U.S. quarters—the first to feature a Black woman

A first edition of Phillis Wheatley's Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral (1773), written while the poet was enslaved to John Wheatley of Boston. The book has a brown leather cover, the original Morocco spine label and a frontispiece featuring a portrait of Phillis by Scipio Morehead.


 

Women Who Shaped History

How Phillis Wheatley Beat All Expectations

The Revolution-era Boston establishment couldn't believe that the young African American woman wrote the exquisite book of poetry

bell hooks, pictured in 1999

Women Who Shaped History

Groundbreaking Feminist Scholar bell hooks Dies at 69

The prolific American writer shaped a generation of discourse around Black feminism and intersectionality

“Bless whoever it was who came up with the idea,” jazz historian Dan Morgenstern says in a Smithsonian interview about Armstrong’s rendition of the holiday chestnut.

The Little-Known Recording of Louis Armstrong Reciting 'The Night Before Christmas'

Shortly before he died, the jazz legend offered his own rendition of the classic holiday poem

Ary Scheffer, The Ghosts of Paolo and Francesca Appear to Dante and Virgil, 1835

Before Romeo and Juliet, Paolo and Francesca Were Literature's Star-Crossed Lovers

Centuries after Italian poet Dante published "The Divine Comedy," Romantic artists and writers reimagined the tragedy as a tale of female agency

Illustration of Marie de France, poet who lived in England in the late 12th century

The Unheralded Women Scribes Who Brought Medieval Manuscripts to Life

A new book by scholar Mary Wellesley spotlights the anonymous artisans behind Europe's richly illuminated volumes

Singer-songwriter and visual artist Solange has launched a free library of rare works by Black authors, available to borrow on a first-come, first-served basis.

Singer and Artist Solange Debuts Free Library of Rare Books by Black Authors

Readers in the U.S. can borrow 50 titles, including collections of poems by Gwendolyn Brooks and Langston Hughes and a sci-fi novel by Octavia Butler

The Surprising Artistic Life of Ancient Sparta

Poets and lyricists populated the Greek civilization

A monument in Thermopylae to King Leonidas.

Sparta Was Much More Than an Army of Super Warriors

Fierce? Yes. Tough? You bet. But the true history of the Greek civilization had a lot more nuance

Some of the details between the film and its source material are, of course, different, but the themes at their respective hearts remain consistent.

'The Green Knight' Adopts a Medieval Approach to 'Modern' Problems

A new film starring Dev Patel as Gawain feels more like a psychological thriller than a period drama

Plath's recipe cards and rolling pin reflect her love of cooking—and her conflicted relationship with domestic life.

Explore Sylvia Plath's Love Letters, Recipe Cards and Tarot Deck

A trove of the American poet's personal possessions recently sold at auction for more than $1 million

Highlights of the upcoming sale include this 1841 birthday note from Emily Brontë to her sister Anne.

Unseen Trove of Literary Treasures, From Emily Brontë's Handwritten Poems to Robert Burns' Musings, Up for Sale

Sotheby's is set to auction a private collection of 500 manuscripts, first editions, letters and papers linked to famed British authors

Astronaut Sally Ride (left) and poet Maya Angelou (right) will be the first individuals honored through the American Women Quarters Program.

Women Who Shaped History

Maya Angelou, Sally Ride to Be Among First Women Featured on U.S. Quarters

Between 2022 and 2025, the U.S. Mint is set to highlight up to 20 trailblazing American women

Elexia Alleyne and her family have lived in what they call “the barrio of Washington, D.C.” for three generations.

Smithsonian Voices

Coming of Age in Poetry: Meet Elexia Alleyne

Growing up in D.C.’s barrio, the young poet remembers a vibrant, tight-knit Dominican community.

Chinese poetry carved on the wall of the Angel Island Immigration Station in the San Francisco Bay.

Smithsonian Voices

Read Poems Left by Chinese Immigrants Arriving at Angel Island, the 'Ellis Island of the West'

The primary mission of San Francisco's Angel Island Immigration Station was to better enforce the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and other anti-Asian laws

On January 20, 2021, poet Amanda Gorman read her her poem "The Hill We Climb" during the 59th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

Why Poetry Is Experiencing an Awakening

Celebrate the 25th Anniversary of April’s National Poetry Month with these workshops from the National Museum of African American History and Culture

Portrait of Dante Alighieri, Florence and the allegory of the Divine Comedy, 1465, detail.

Virtual Travel

Follow Dante's Footsteps Through Italy

For the 700th anniversary of the poet’s death, visit his birthplace, churches and tomb

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