poem index

poems & poets

Search our curated collection of over 7,000 poems, over 2,500 poet biographies, as well as essays about poetry, and some of the most important books, anthologies, and textbooks about the art form ever written. To search by keyword, use the search bar above.

poems

poem

A man walks into a 
museum in Paris, the Museum
of Natural History, to saw
 
a tusk off an elephant-
skeleton centuries-older than  
he’ll ever be, becoming

in those early morning hours  
part of a derelict and
inglorious human history,
 

poem

strung from a thought arrived through the keyhole grasping
the hand of another

I will begin with my mouth

then live with antlers remembering the light inside, always to breathe this unforgetting

and his body shaped like a crabapple tree

or a mother raised by a wolf

poem

You are standing in the minefield again.
Someone who is dead now

told you it is where you will learn
to dance. Snow on your lips like a salted

cut, you leap between your deaths, black as god’s
periods. Your arms cleaving little wounds

in the wind. You are

texts

text
Essays
2016

For as long as there have been writers, there have been texts that have been challenged, censored, burned, and banned. The stories of banned literature do not just belong in the history books; even today, some of the most influential texts in our bookstores and libraries are currently being challenged or have been challenged at some point before. Here we take a look at fifteen significant poems, poetry collections, and poets that have been censored and banned throughout history. Find out more about these books and others during Banned Books Week, September 25 to October 1, 2016.

 

Les Fleurs du mal (The Flowers of Evil), Charles Baudelaire

As soon as Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du mal was published in June of 1857, thirteen of its 100 poems were arraigned for inappropriate content. On August 20, 1857, French lawyer Ernest Pinard, who had also famously prosecuted French author Gustave Flaubert, prosecuted Baudelaire for the collection.

text
on Teaching Poetry
2005

Giraffes, how did they make Carmen? Well, you see, Carmen ate the prettiest rose in the world and then just then the great change of heaven occurred and she became the prettiest girl in the world and because I love her.

Lions, why does your mane flame like fire of the devil? Because I have the speed of the wind and the strength of the earth at my command.

Oh Kiwi, why have you no wings? Because I have been born with the despair to walk the earth without the power of flight and am damned to do so.

Oh bird of flight, why have you been granted the power to fly? Because I was meant to sit upon the branch and to be with the wind.

Oh crocodile, why were you granted the power to slaughter your fellow animal? I do not answer.

—Chip Wareing, 5th grade, PS 61

Last year at PS 61 in New York City I taught my third-through-sixth-grade students poems by Blake, Donne, Shakespeare, Herrick, Whitman, William Carlos Williams, Wallace Stevens, John Ashbery, and

text
Poetic Terms/Forms
2014

 

poetry:  An inexplicable (though not incomprehensible) event in language; an experience through words. Jorge Luis Borges believed that “poetry is something that cannot be defined without oversimplifying it.  It would be like attempting to define the color yellow, love, the fall of leaves in autumn.”  Even Samuel Johnson maintained, “To circumscribe poetry by a definition will only show the narrowness of the definer.”

Poetry is a human fundamental, like music.  It predates literacy and precedes prose in all literatures.  There has probably never been a culture without it, yet no one knows precisely what it is.  The word poesie entered the English language in the fourteenth century and begat poesy (as in Sidney’s “The Defence of Poesy,” ca. 1582) and posy, a motto in verse.  Poetrie (from the Latin poetria) entered fourteenth-century English vocabulary and evolved into our poetry.  The Greek word poiesis means “making.”  The fact that the oldest term for the poet means

books

book
Poetry Book
2016
Songs from a Mountain by Amanda Nadelberg
book
Poetry Book
2012
Nervous Device by Catherine Wagner
book
Poetry Book
2016
Selected Poems by Keith Waldrop