‘What the Orphan Inherits’ by Sherman Alexie is a powerful piece about contending with the world as a Native American child after becoming an orphan.
‘Wedding Cake’ by Naomi Shihab Nye describes a brief moment a speaker took care of a child on an airplane.
‘The Traveling Onion’ by Naomi Shihab Nye is an interesting poem. It describes the travels of an onion and how overlooked it is during meals.
‘I Saw From the Beach’ by Thomas Moore is a thoughtful poem. It considers the soul and passion and how the two things change over time as one ages.
‘Show It At the Beach’ by Shel Silverstein addresses taboos in contemporary society. Specifically, the poem considers when nudity is appropriate and when it isn’t (on the beach).
‘Dolor’ by Theodore Roethke is a deeply emotional poem that imbues everyday objects and activities with a dark feeling.
‘Men at Forty’ by Donald Justice is a moving poem about aging and fatherhood. The speaker is describing what it’s like for all men when they reach forty and consider their pasts and presents.
‘The Constant Lover’ by Sir John Suckling presents an interesting view of love. It’s told from the perspective of a man who has recently fallen for a new woman.
‘The Peace of Wild Things’ by Wendell Berry is a popular poem about the natural world. The speaker spends the lines relishing in the freedom they experience in the woods.
‘The Sky is low — the Clouds are mean’ by Emily Dickinson is a creative poem about nature’s attitudes. The poet uses personification to depict the ups and downs of a particular storm.
‘As I Was Going by Charing Cross’ was first recorded in the 1840s. But, it likely dates to an early decade. It’s thought that this nursery rhyme was likely shared through street cries or chants.
‘The Unfinished’ by Laurie Sheck is a complex and powerful poem about meaning, the purpose of life, and free will.
‘I’m a Fool to Love You’ by Cornelius Eady is a moving poem. It details the choices of a young black woman, the speaker’s mother, and why she did what she did.
‘Field Poem’ by Gary Soto is a short and powerful poem that describes a speaker’s experience at the end of a workday. The poet uses imagery to depict leaving a cotton field and climbing on a bus.
‘Alcohol’ by Franz Wright is a moving poem that explores the complexities of addiction. It’s told from the perspective of alcohol, addressing someone who is addicted to the substance.
‘Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy’s Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota’ by James Wright describes a speaker’s new appreciation for the countryside. They find themselves so attached to it that they suggest they’ve wasted their life not living there.
‘Madonna Mia’ by Oscar Wilde is a beautiful and interesting poem. In it, the speaker describes a “lily-girl.”
‘There is a pain—so utter’ by Emily Dickinson is a complicated poem. It uses abstract language to describe pain.
‘On the Beach at Night Alone’ by Walt Whitman is a powerful poem. In it, Whitman discusses how everything that has ever existed or will ever exist is connected.
‘Longing’ by Matthew Arnold is a poem directed at someone’s lover. They ask this person to visit them in their dreams since they can’t be together during the day.
‘Indian Boarding School: The Runaways’ by Louise Erdrich is an incredibly moving poem. In it, the poet details the lives of children forced to live at a Native American boarding school.
‘Conference Between Christ, The Saints, And The Soul’ by Christina Rossetti discusses faith, the afterlife, and how one gets into Heaven.
‘Portrait of Girl with Comic Book’ by Phyllis McGinley is a thoughtful piece about growing up. The speaker addresses what its like for girls to be thirteen.
‘The One Girl at the Boys Party’ by Sharon Olds is about a young girl who attends a boy’s pool party. She stands apart from them in a powerful and beautiful way.
’35/10’ by Sharon Olds is a moving poem about the poet’s relationship with her daughter. The latter is coming into her own while the former is growing old.
‘Insect’ by Annie Finch describes an insect. The poet uses hyphenated compound words and unusual images to depict the creature’s life and actions.
‘Postfeminism’ by Brenda Shaughnessy is a powerful poem that uses imagery to depict a woman’s experience in the world while alluding to the phases of feminism.
‘Hot Combs’ by Natasha Trethewey is an emotional poem about the past. It includes images of a speaker’s mother and how she looked as she fixed her hair.
‘Bag of Mice’ by Nick Flynn is a powerful poem that describes a speaker’s dream and a listener’s suicide note.
‘Harriet Tubman’ by Eloise Greenfield is a moving and simple piece of poetry about Tubman’s life. The poet explores her bravery and determination in the face of impossible odds.