David Ward started writing poetry in his late thirties. His poems are the work of an historian who knows how environments and events, on a family or a national scale, shape and change us, and how we live with moral and psychological consequences of actions for which we are not ever fully accountable. Ward is an outstanding critic of modern poetry, and his creative work responds to it with attentive originality. He has recourse to verse when prose fails: it comes to him at times of intensity or difficulty, is usually unexpected, and then abandons him again. That it has returned is a matter of history, that it will return a matter of faith.
David C. Ward is an historian at the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution where he has curated exhibitions on Walt Whitman and Abraham Lincoln, among others. With graduate degrees from Warwick University and Yale, he is the author of Charles Willson Peale. Art and Selfhood in the Early Republic (2004) and (with Jonathan D. Katz) Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture (2010).