John Ashbery by Peter Hujar

John Ashbery by Peter Hujar / Gelatin silver print, 1975 / National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; acquired through the generosity of Elizabeth Ann Hylton / © The Peter Hujar Archive / Courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery

Poetic Likeness: Modern American Poets

October 12, 2012 - April 28, 2013

“Poetic Likeness” recognized the impact of poetry in America through a survey of its history during the modern period. During this time, the nation’s poets came of age in their command of a distinctly American voice. Beginning with Walt Whitman, and his invention of free verse, through  the 1970s, with poets like Yusef Komunyakaa, the exhibition charted how American poets contributed to the making of American literature by following Ezra Pound’s injunction to “make it new.”

“Poetic Likeness” provided a documentary record of modernist poetry through compelling portraits--from the museum’s collection--and include extensive quotations from each poet. Additionally, audiovisual clips will show poets reading their own works. Some of the key “makers of modernism” included are Walt Whitman, Ezra Pound, Robert Frost, Marianne Moore, Langston Hughes and Allen Ginsberg.