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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

Here is how I control my heart: I string each thought one behind the next, like beads.

I wear the answers I am waiting to give. The jewelry becomes heavy as soil.

My long blink is a scream & a yes. There are things I have to say, but they do not yet know the questions they must

poem

Among many tongues may clang
the bell of ten thousand names.
A clepsydra with veins of blood.
A caravel on a tide of bloodletting
is also our necessary clock, so
the he who is I at the
time lets out my elephantine toll.
Vein of granite, vein of quartz.

poem

I had not known before
    Forever was so long a word.
The slow stroke of the clock of time
    I had not heard.

‘Tis hard to learn so late;
    It seems no sad heart really learns,
But hopes and trusts and doubts and fears,
    And bleeds and burns.

The

texts

text
Schools & Movements
2004

The Dark Room Collective was founded in Boston in 1988 by a group of African American poets led by Thomas Sayers Ellis and Sharan Strange. The mission of the Collective was to form a community of established and emerging African American writers. Major Jackson, Natasha Trethewey, and Kevin Young were also members of this group.

Originally conceived as a reading series, the Collective became a small community of poets. Strange wrote, "It was the sustaining practice of writing in community just as much as the activism of building a community-based reading series for writers of color that kept us engaged in collectivity" (Painted Bride Quarterly 60).

read about poets from the dark room collective

text
on Teaching Poetry
2014

Twelve people sitting around a table talking about poems is not going to ruin poetry.

This isn’t an endorsement of the writing workshop as it is currently taught; but in imagining how it might be done better, it seems important to understand exactly what the flattening or engaging possibilities of the thing might be. So it bears repeating, as we struggle to vomit up the Kool-Aid of heroic individualism: of itself, a dozen people puzzling over a poem at a shared table is not a problem. And it even has the possibility of possibility.

The problems though are obvious and have been inventoried again and again by those other than us. They include boredom, the pedantry of professionalization, the policing of group norms, a pedagogy of proofreading and minor revision, an unacknowledged aesthetic elitism and narrow-mindedness, anxiety about outcomes other than the outcome of the poem. You will note that these are different names for one linked problematic, and that the all-too-

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. 

tanka: Also called uta or waka. The character for ka means “poem.” Wa means “Japanese.” Therefore, a waka is a Japanese poem. Tan means “short,” and so a tanka is a short poem, thirty-one syllables long. It is unrhymed and has units of five, seven, five, seven, and seven syllables, which were traditionally printed as one unbroken line. In English translation, the tanka is customarily divided into a five-line form. The tanka is sometimes separated by the three “

books