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Rise Up and Hear: An Evening of Poetry Honoring Abraham Lincoln




Contact Name:

David Early

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Additional Contacts:

Paulette Beete, NEA

Anne Halsey, Poetry Foundation


Rise Up And Hear:  An Evening of Poetry Honoring Abraham Lincoln’s Legacy Set for September 22

Washington – Abraham Lincoln was not only a shopkeeper, surveyor, lawyer, legislator, politician and president.  At his core, Lincoln was a poet. 

On September 22, former U.S. poet laureate Robert Pinsky will join actors Sam Waterston and Joan Allen, poet Kevin Young, Poetry Foundation President John Barr, Steppenwolf Theatre Artistic Director Martha Lavey, and 2008 Poetry Out Loud national champion Shawntay Henry to honor Abraham Lincoln with an evening of poetry in the Sidney R. Yates Auditorium at the Department of the Interior in Washington, DC.

Rise Up and Hear: An Evening of Poetry Honoring Abraham Lincoln’s Legacy is jointly sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Poetry Foundation, and the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission.  NEA Chairman Dana Gioia, himself a poet, is the host for the evening.

The event is free and open to the public.  Seating is limited and reservations are recommended by emailing: lincoln@arts.endow.gov

Though Lincoln's poetic nature is most evident in his speeches, he also took a turn at writing poetry. He was a great reader of poetry, counting William Shakespeare, Robert Burns, and Lord Byron among his favorites. Since his death, Lincoln has been immortalized by many of poetry’s leading voices, including Walt Whitman, Carl Sandburg, and Vachel Lindsay. Rise Up and Hear will feature work by these poets and many more.




Rise Up and Hear: An Evening of Poetry Honoring Abraham Lincoln’s Legacy




Joan Allen

John Barr, Poetry Foundation President

Dana Gioia, National Endowment for the Arts Chairman

Shawntay Henry, 2008 Poetry Out Loud national champion

Martha Lavey, Steppenwolf Theatre Artistic Director

Robert Pinsky, former U.S. Poet Laureate

Sam Waterston

Kevin Young, poet





September 22, 2008

  • Reception – 6:00 p.m.
  • Program – 7:00 p.m.


Media interviews available prior to the evening’s program with advance notice.




Sidney R. Yates Auditorium

U.S. Department of the Interior

1849 C Street, NW

Washington, DC


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