poem index

poems & poets

Search over 2,500 poet biographies, over 7,000 poems, 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
Five years have past; five summers, with the length
Of five long winters! and again I hear
These waters, rolling from their mountain-springs
With a soft inland murmur.—Once again
Do I behold these steep and lofty cliffs,
That on a wild secluded scene impress
Thoughts of more deep seclusion;
poem
You are as gold 
as the half-ripe grain 
that merges to gold again, 
as white as the white rain 
that beats through 
the half-opened flowers 
of the great flower tufts 
thick on the black limbs 
of an Illyrian apple bough.

  Can honey distill such fragrance 
As your bright hair—
For your
poem
I caught a tremendous fish
and held him beside the boat
half out of water, with my hook
fast in a corner of his mouth.
He didn't fight.
He hadn't fought at all.
He hung a grunting weight,
battered and venerable
and homely. Here and there
his brown skin hung in strips
like ancient wallpaper,

texts

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

riddle: “A mystifying, misleading, or puzzling question posed as a problem to be solved or guessed often as a game” (Webster’s Third New International Dictionary). Though the dictionary definition focuses on the riddle as a question and describes it as a game, the riddle is more than a puzzle. It is both an interrogative and an expressive form, possibly the earliest form of oral literature—a formulation of thought, a mode of association, a metaphor.

The comparative work of folklorists suggests that riddle-making is virtually a universal activity, a lyric root, a contest of wit, a process of naming. The earliest riddles on record are preserved on a clay tablet from ancient Babylon. They are inscribed in Sumerian along with Assyrian translations. Here is one that Archer Taylor, the premier scholar of riddles, presents in The Literary Riddle before 1600 (1948):

Who becomes pregnant without conceiving,
who becomes fat without eating? The

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-

books

book
Poetry Book
2016
Rival Gardens by Connie Wanek
book
Poetry Book
2016
Anybody by Ari Banias
book
Textbook
2015