Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library unveils poetry exhibit
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highlights Illinois poets and library collection
[March 30, 2007]
SPRINGFIELD -- In celebration of National
Poetry Month, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library presents
"Chapter and Verse: Connecting to Poetry in the Abraham Lincoln
Presidential Library," on display now through September. This
temporary exhibit highlights poetry found in the collection of the
library as well as popular Illinois poets.
"It was astounding to me how much poetry we were able to find once
we began to look," said Gwen Podeschi, reference librarian at the
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library. "It's been fun exploring all
these works of art -- and I hope our visitors enjoy it as well."
Featured in the exhibit are Illinois poet Vachel Lindsay's poetry
and art. On display are "The Tree of Laughing Bells," "The Lotus and
the Rose," and the series of six "Village Improvement Parade" images
in the library's collection, as well as the version of "Lucifer" in
the collection, "Machinery" and several smaller sketches. Also on
display is the handwritten version of "Abraham Lincoln Walks at
Midnight," dated Nov. 19, 1930, and signed by Lindsay.
The exhibit also features the four poet laureates of Illinois.
Four panels celebrate the work of
Howard B. Austin,
honored by Gov. Henry Horner in 1936;
and Gwendolyn Brooks,
both appointed by Gov. Otto Kerner, in 1962 and 1968; and
Kevin Stein, the
current poet laureate, appointed by Gov. Rod Blagojevich in 2003.
Austin's family kindly assisted the library in its efforts to gather
the works of this largely unpublished central Illinois poet whose
good-natured address in song to Gov. Horner at a Democratic women's
meeting was rewarded with the poet laureate designation.
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Also on display is the oldest item in the exhibit, a 1792
broadside titled "The Columbian Tragedy," celebrating the courage of
officers and soldiers killed in a conflict, as well as a tribute to
the state song, "Illinois, Illinois."
A selection of manuscript poems are also displayed, including a
Valentine's Day composition by a young Susan Lawrence Dana. Poetry
books bound in gilt-lettered leather, marbled paper and wood, and
the delightful miniature books published by publisher Ward Schori of
Evanston are among the other items in the collection.
Campaign songs, political satire and tributes written to
celebrate the passing of Ulysses S. Grant and other Illinois
citizens are here, as well as poetry and images from the American
Civil War. A collection of "carrier's addresses" is on display from
19th-century newspapers. These addresses accompanied the New Year's
Day newspapers and gave a digest of the year just passed and
thoughts on the year just begun. Cases on the second floor have also
been used to present poems from around the state.
The library will be scheduling additional programming to coincide
with the exhibit through its closing in the fall. The items in the
exhibit include selections from the published, audiovisual and
manuscript collections of Illinois historical materials.
The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
daily. For more information, visit
[Text from file received from Abraham Lincoln Presidential
Library and Museum]