poem index

poems & poets

Search our curated collection of over 9,000 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

I cannot but remember
  When the year grows old—
October—November—
  How she disliked the cold!

She used to watch the swallows
  Go down across the sky,
And turn from the window
  With a little sharp sigh.

And often when the brown leaves
  Were

poem

When I named you I was on the verge
of a discovery, I was accumulating

data, my condition was that of a person
sitting late at night in a yellowing kitchen

over steeping tea mumbling
as his wife remotely does the laundry.

My condition was that of a mathematician

poem
My heart leaps up when I behold 
   A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began; 
So is it now I am a man; 
So be it when I shall grow old, 
   Or let me die!
The Child is father of the Man;
And I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.

texts

text
Poetic Terms/Forms
2014

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 (Nocturni or Nocturna) refers to “night prayer” or night vigil. The notion of associating night with spiritual contemplation goes back at least as far as the Neo-Platonists. “I shall sing of Night, mother of gods and men,” one Orphic hymn begins. “The night is often the secret site of initiation, purification, and other threshold activities bridging the relation between what is human and what is not human and providing a context for changed roles and states of being,” Susan Stewart writes, pointing to the Japanese tradition of night

text
from American Poets
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

text
Essays
2015

Banishment is everyone’s story. And while the words we conjure to tell that story perhaps console and sustain us, they also cast us further from the very worlds we are trying to revisit, recreate, resurrect.

In the closing sentences of “Eden and My Generation,” reprinted in his posthumous collection of essays and interviews, The Gazer Within (University of Michigan Press, 2001), Larry Levis writes about his departure from the San Joaquin Valley, where he’d grown up working in his father’s vineyards: “After I left for good,” he tells us, “all I really needed to do was to describe the place exactly as it had been. That I could not do, for that was impossible. And that is where poetry might begin.”

When I was asked recently to speak about the work of a poet I admire, my thoughts turned quickly to Levis, whose sudden death in 1996 deprived the poets of my generation of the opportunity to meet or study with him, though the proliferation of essays about him and his work by

books

book
Poetry Book
2010
Juvenilia by Ken Chen
book
Textbook
1998
Sing the Sun Up
book
Poetry Book
2012
When My Brother Was an Aztec by Natalie Diaz