On March 15, the United States Postal Service will celebrate the two hundredth birthday of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow by issuing a thirty-nine cent Longfellow stamp. The stamp will be introduced in a ceremony at Madison Square Garden in New York City, which will also feature a speech by chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Dana Gioia and a recitation of Longfellow poems by the 2006 Poetry Out Loud state champions from Massachusetts and New Jersey. Poetry Out Loud, a collaborative program launched last year by the NEA and the Poetry Foundation, encourages high school students to learn about poetry through memorization and performance.
Longfellow, born in Portland, Maine, in 1807, was the author of more than a dozen poetry collections, including Tales of a Wayside Inn (Ticknor and Fields, 1863) and The Courtship of Miles Standish (Ticknor and Fields, 1858). He is most famous for his poems "The Song of Hiawatha," "Paul Revere’s Ride," and "Evangeline."