By the mid-nineteenth century, the United States was developing a distinctive artistic and cultural identity, one rooted in the specific conditions and history of American life. American poetry grew in technical sophistication, and with Walt Whitman it broke the shackles of literary gentility to create a language that expressed the fullness of American democracy.By the turn of the twentieth century, Whitman and then Ezra Pound had created a platform on which subsequent writers would create quintessentially modern verse: bright, linguistically innovative and above all engaged with the tumultuous, energetic society of which they were an essential part. Throughout, there was a close link between poetry and artists, the two arts intertwining to create modernist culture. Poetic Likeness is a record of that partnership, putting a face to the distinctive voices of American poetry.
National Portrait Gallery Smithsonian Institution
October 12, 2012 through April 28, 2013