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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

Alarmed, today is a new dawn,
and that affair recurs daily like clockwork,

undone at dusk, when a new restaurant
emerges in the malnourished night.

We said it would be this way, once this became
the way it was. So in a way we were

waiting for it. I still haven’t

poem

“O Dreary life!” we cry, “O dreary life!”
And still the generations of the birds
Sing through our sighing, and the flocks and herds
Serenely live while we are keeping strife
With Heaven’s true purpose in us, as a knife
Against which we may struggle. Ocean girds

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

texts

text
American Poets Magazine
2014

It’s hard to believe that 2014 is John Berryman’s centenary, in part because his best work is of such consummate strangeness that it seems to exist outside the confines of any period or style, and almost outside literary and historical time altogether.

We think of Berryman’s fellow Middle Generation poets—Robert Lowell, Robert Hayden, Elizabeth Bishop, and Randall Jarrell, among others, all born between 1910 and 1920—as very much products of their era, who all, in various ways, forged poetic styles that seemed especially reflective of the culture, politics, and vernacular of mid-twentieth century America. Lowell and Hayden were above all poets of personal and public memory, witnesses to the turbulence of their times who were canny in their ability to intermingle the topical with the historical. Bishop and Jarrell strove to perfect a limpid version of the American idiom—what Marianne Moore famously called a plain American English that cats and dogs can understand—that was at

text
Essay
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

text
Poetic Term or Form
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. 

stanza: The natural unit of the lyric: a group or sequence of lines arranged in a pattern. A stanzaic pattern is traditionally defined by the meter and rhyme scheme, considered repeatable throughout a work. A stanzaic poem uses white space to create temporal and visual pauses. The word stanza means “room” in Italian— “a station,” “a stopping place”—and each stanza in a poem is like a room in a house, a lyric dwelling place. “The Italian etymology,” Ernst

books

book
Anthology
1994
Unsettling America: An Anthology of Contemporary Multicultural Poetry
book
Poetry Book
2012
Writers Writing Dying by C.K. Williams
book
Poetry Book
2012
Nervous Device by Catherine Wagner