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

makes
the air

quiver
and dart

the throat
ache

to call
makes

the heart
cheer

the ear
keen

to the sheer
glorious

windfall
of oriole

veery
vireo

poem
First having read the book of myths,
and loaded the camera,
and checked the edge of the knife-blade,
I put on
the body-armor of black rubber
the absurd flippers
the grave and awkward mask.
I am having to do this
not like Cousteau with his
assiduous team
aboard the sun-flooded schooner
but
2
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.

texts

text
Poetic Terms/Forms
2004

Invented by the Italian poet Dante Alighieri in the late thirteenth century to structure his three-part epic poem, The Divine Comedy, terza rima is composed of tercets woven into a rhyme scheme that requires the end-word of the second line in one tercet to supply the rhyme for the first and third lines in the following tercet. Thus, the rhyme scheme (aba, bcb, cdc, ded) continues through to the final stanza or line. Dante chose to end each canto of the The Divine Comedy with a single line that completes the rhyme scheme with the end-word of the second line of the preceding tercet.

Terza rima is typically written in an iambic line, and in English, most often in iambic pentameter. If another line length is chosen, such as tetrameter, the lines should be of the same length. There are no limits to the number of lines a poem composed in terza rima may have.

Possibly developed from the tercets found in the verses of Provencal troubadours, who were greatly admired by Dante,

text
Poetic Terms/Forms
2014

elliptical poetry: In The Idiom of Poetry (1946), Frederick Pottle used the term elliptical for a kind of pure poetry that omits prosaic information. He recognized ellipticism in various historical works, but contended that “the modern poet goes much farther in employing private experiences or ideas than would formerly have been thought legitimate.” To the common reader, he says, “the prime characteristic of this kind of poetry is not the nature of its imagery but its obscurity, its urgent suggestion that you add something to the poem without telling what that something is.” He names that some­thing “the prose frame.” Robert Penn Warren used the term “elliptical” in his essay “Pure and Impure Poetry” (1943) to summarize T. S. Eliot’s notion that some poets “become impatient of this meaning [explicit statement of ideas in logical order] which seems superfluous, and perceive possibilities of intensity through its elimination.”

Stephen Burt redeployed the term elliptical poetry

text
Poetic Terms/Forms
2015

epic: A long narrative poem, exalted in style, heroic in theme. The earliest epics all focus on the legendary adventures of a hero against the backdrop of a historical event: think of the Trojan War and Odysseus’s action-packed journey home in the eighth century BCE Homeric epics the Iliad and the Odyssey, the models for epic poetry ever since; or the territorial battles of a warrior culture in the Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf, dated between the eighth and eleventh centuries; or the preservation of a city and a civilization in the Babylonian Gilgamesh (ca. 1600–1000 BCE). These epics seem to be the written versions of texts long sung and retold, composed and recomposed by many epic singers over time, all telling the tale of a tribe. The first audiences for the epics were listeners, the later ones readers. Aristotle (384–322 BCE) considered the Homeric epic the prototype of tragedy. The epic carried important cultural truths but, as M. I. Finley puts it, “Whatever else the epic may have

books

book
Children's Book
2017
On the Wing
book
Anthology
1994
Unsettling America: An Anthology of Contemporary Multicultural Poetry
book
Children's Book
2017
Harlem