Exhibit: Poets’ Holiday Greeting Cards

One year, Langston Hughes’s Christmas cards were elegant and unique, printed with a line illustration, Africanesque, by fellow Harlem Renaissance artist Aaron Douglas. Another year, he scrawled a quick greeting on the back of a mass-produced card with a generic holiday verse printed on the back. Sometimes, even poets get too busy to put their personal stamp on the holidays. Hughes’s cards, along with some 40 other celebratory greetings, announcements, and private correspondence are currently on display in the exhibition “Winter Wedding: Holiday Cards by Poets” at Poets House in New York. There are seasonal poems privately printed by poets including Seamus Heaney, WH Auden and Allen Ginsberg; a copy of Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath’s marriage address; a Christmas card from Charles Bukowski; Flannery O’Connor’s tiny calling card; and handmade valentines exchanged by married poets Alice Notley and Ted Berrigan in the 1970s. It’s a small, charming show that offers a glimpse into the private worlds of these writers and artists, their relationships and creative collaborations.

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