Reading poetry reveals a great deal about the mind, the values, and the character of an individual. Poetry and the American Presidency presents the first study to focus on the importance of poetry in the lives of 18 American presidents from George Washington to Barack Obama. These presidents read or wrote poetry themselves and on occasion wrote about the nature and importance of poetry for American society. Through the study of the relationship between poetry and the presidents, unique and surprising insights are revealed about the individuals who occupied the Oval Office. Furthermore, this book offers insights into how poetry may factor into leadership and the exercise of power. Scholars in history, literature, and politics will find this book interesting and useful.
Paul J. Ferlazzo is Professor Emeritus at Northern Arizona University and a scholar of American literature. For 40 years he has taught poetry in the context of culture at universities both in the United States and abroad. He has published two books on Emily Dickinson and written articles and papers on many poets including Walt Whitman, Robert Frost, Edwin Arlington Robinson, and Carl Sandburg. A former National Defense Fellow, he has also held a Ford Foundation Grant and a Fulbright Lectureship, received several university teaching and scholarship awards, and recently completed a term as president of the National Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi.