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Browse thousands of biographies of poets and poems, essays about poetry, and some of the most important books, anthologies, and textbooks about the art form ever written. Looking for something specific? Use the search bar above.

poems

poem

I like to be alone in someone else’s house,
practicing my cosmic long distance wink.
I send it out toward a mirror
some distracted bored cosmonaut dropped
on an asteroid hurtling vastly
closer to our star. No one watches
me watching thousands
of television

poem

Today when persimmons ripen
Today when fox-kits come out of their den into snow
Today when the spotted egg releases its wren song
Today when the maple sets down its red leaves
Today when windows keep their promise to open
Today when fire keeps its promise to warm

poem

Night fell one year ago, like this.
He had been writing steadily.
Among these dusky walls of books,
How bright he looked, intense as flame!
Suddenly he paused,
The firelight in his hair,
And said, “The time has come to go.”
I took his hand;
We watched the

texts

text
Essays
2015

     At closing time
     standing outside the public library
     with ID card expired,
     the books remain on shelves—
     Lev Vygotsky, Toni Morrison, Levertov, Cassirer,
     and the Zora Neale Hurston (which probably isn’t there) . . .

“Who is this Christopher Gilbert and why am I only just hearing about him?” That’s what I continue to ask myself at almost every encounter with this poet. Typing the opening stanza of “The ‘The,’” for example, I lingered again on the authors named in the poem. I had to research Lev Vygotsky and Ernst Cassirer. Part of the wink in those opening lines is that the speaker (someone so like Christopher Gilbert we could call him Christopher Gilbert) is also planning to research the authors. In seeing what the seeker seeks we see something of the seeker. The poem tells us something about his eclectic intelligence as well as his eclectic curiosity. He’s after Lev Vygotsky, the Russian development

text
Poetic Terms/Forms
2014

In April 2014 A Poet’s Glossary by Academy Chancellor Edward Hirsch was published. As Hirsch writes in the preface, “This book—one person’s work, a poet’s glossary—has grown, as if naturally, out of my lifelong interest in poetry, my curiosity about its vocabulary, its forms and genres, its histories and traditions, its classical, romantic, and modern movements, its various outlying groups, its small devices and large mysteries—how it works.” Each week we will feature a term and its definition from Hirsch’s new book. 

nocturne     A night scene. John Donne was the first English poet to employ the term nocturnal to designate a genre in “A Nocturnal upon S. Lucy’s Day, being the shortest day” (1633). Donne sets his poem at midnight (“’Tis the year’s midnight, and it is the day’s”) and creates an elegy on the shortest day of the year, the winter solstice, by borrowing from the night offices of the Roman Catholic canonical hours. In early church writings, the term nocturnes (

text
from American Poets Magazine
2015

Irony certainly isn’t the first word that comes to mind when we think of the poems of Walt Whitman, whose vast, brilliant, and uneven body of work is more often characterized by terms like earnestness and sincerity, directness and plain speech. This most American of American poets invented, after all, free verse as we know it, and not just in terms of an open, conversational voice, presented in an arrangement on the page often determined by content rather than by strict measures.  His form mimics the process of thinking itself, and he allows the poem, in a markedly modern way, to grope toward meaning, using metaphor, image, analogy, and argument in ways quite unlike the dominant verse of his time. He gives a kind of breathing, seemingly spontaneous form to his questions, and thus his readers feel involved in a process of coming to knowledge, brought into an intimate relationship with at least a version of the speaker’s subjectivity. In this way he seems, along with his fellow

books

book
Textbook
1998
Sing the Sun Up
book
Poetry Book
2010
Juvenilia by Ken Chen
book
Poetry Book
2012
Nervous Device by Catherine Wagner