06/23/2010 11:20 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Abraham Lincoln: Poet?

The United States has had a head of state who was also a great writer. Only Marcus Aurelius can compete with Abraham Lincoln. Like many prose masters, Lincoln was a reader and writer of poetry. His poem "My Childhood-Home I See Again" combines polished but conventional passages in ballad meter with another element, powerfully imagined and turbulent. The poem is worth thinking about in relation to Abraham Lincoln's mind. It also raises interesting questions about poetry itself--the art's ability to compound the meanings of words with the force of bodily gestures.

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