poem index

poems & poets

Search our curated collection of over 8,000 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

They dip their wings in the sunset,
They dash against the air
As if to break themselves upon its stillness:
In every movement, too swift to count,
Is a revelry of indecision,
A furtive delight in trees they do not desire
And in grasses that shall not know their

poem

Like seeing a hot air balloon.
It’s just like seeing a hot air balloon.
No helium or flame or 8 passenger basket.
No passengers possibly drinking champagne.
No pilot or ballast,
nor buoyancy, nor balloonist enthusiast
entering national contests.
No ballast, I

poem

if it doesn't come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don't do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don't do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or

texts

text
Poetic Terms/Forms
2014

 

poetry:  An inexplicable (though not incomprehensible) event in language; an experience through words. Jorge Luis Borges believed that “poetry is something that cannot be defined without oversimplifying it.  It would be like attempting to define the color yellow, love, the fall of leaves in autumn.”  Even Samuel Johnson maintained, “To circumscribe poetry by a definition will only show the narrowness of the definer.”

Poetry is a human fundamental, like music.  It predates literacy and precedes prose in all literatures.  There has probably never been a culture without it, yet no one knows precisely what it is.  The word poesie entered the English language in the fourteenth century and begat poesy (as in Sidney’s “The Defence of Poesy,” ca. 1582) and posy, a motto in verse.  Poetrie (from the Latin poetria) entered fourteenth-century English vocabulary and evolved into our poetry.  The Greek word poiesis means “making.”  The fact that the oldest term for the poet means

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
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

books

book
Poetry Book
2016
Songs from a Mountain by Amanda Nadelberg
book
Poetry Book
2016
Selected Poems by Keith Waldrop
book
Children's Book
2017
On the Wing