Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood Poems

Margaret Atwood is a well-loved contemporary Canadian author. She’s written numerous fiction, nonfiction, and poetry books. The latter includes Dearly: New Poems, The Circle Game, and Power Politics. Her novels include The Handmaid’s Tale and The Robber Bride. She’s won numerous awards including the Man Booker Prize. Read more about Margaret Atwood.

Some of Atwood’s most famous poems include Half Hanged Mary, Siren Song, Procedures for Undergroundand Sekhmet, The Lion-Headed Goddess Of War.

Flying Inside Your Own Body

by Margaret Atwood

‘Flying Inside Your Own Body’ by Margaret Atwood speaks on the freedom one can achieve in the dream world, verses the restrictions of reality. 

Among Margaret Atwood's poems, this is one of her best and most commonly read. It's fairly short but uses such powerful language that various readers will find ways to connect to it. It should be ranked among her most important poems.

Your lungs fill & spread themselves,

wings of pink blood, and your bones

empty themselves and become hollow.

The City Planners

by Margaret Atwood

‘The City Planners’ by Margaret Atwood is an image-rich poem in which the poet depicts the fundamentally flawed nature of the suburbs. 

This poem resonates contends with Atwood's most popular themes by scrutinizing the artificial nature of suburban spaces. She delves into how city planning can impact the psychology of its residents, reflecting a pervasive critique of structured, sterile environments. This is consistent with her broader oeuvre, which often interrogates systems of control and their impact on individuals.

Cruising these residential Sunday

streets in dry August sunlight:

what offends us is

the sanities:

Morning in the Burned House

by Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood’s ‘Morning in the Burned House’ is an eerie portrait of a child eating breakfast in the ashes of her burned home. Through the speaker’s perspective, Atwood vividly depicts the thought process of someone grieving a terrible loss.

As the title of one of her poetry collections, 'Morning in the Burned House' is an excellent representation of Atwood's poetry. Its unnerving storyline and simple but highly clever language are characteristics of her best work.

In the burned house I am eating breakfast.

You understand: there is no house, there is no breakfast,

yet here I am.

Bored

by Margaret Atwood

Bored by Margaret Atwood is a single stanza poem that reads as a fluid thought (or thoughts) ruminating on a complex experience of boredom throughout the speaker’s life.

All those times I was bored

out of my mind. Holding the log

while he sawed it. Holding

the string while he measured, boards,

Bull Song

by Margaret Atwood

‘Bull Song’ by Margaret Atwood describes the short life of a bull who is forced to fight in a ring against human “gods” and is then cut up for the victors.

For me there was no audience

no brass music either,

only wet dust, the cheers

buzzing at me like flies,

Death of a Young Son by Drowning

by Margaret Atwood

‘Death of a Young Son by Drowning’ by Margaret Atwood is a beautiful and impactful poem about the death of Susanna Moodie’s young son. Atwood explores the grief of the mother and how her life changed. 

He, who navigated with success

the dangerous river of his own birth

once more set forth

Explore more poems from Margaret Atwood

Spelling

by Margaret Atwood

How do you learn to spell?

Blood, sky & the sun,

your own name first,

your first naming, your first name,

The Landlady

by Margaret Atwood

She is everywhere, intrusive as the smells

that bulge in under my doorsill;

she presides over my

meagre eating, generates

The Moment

by Margaret Atwood

The moment when, after many years

of hard work and a long voyage

you stand in the centre of your room,

house, half-acre, square mile, island, country,

The Robber Bridegroom

by Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Robber Bridegroom’ details the haunting compulsions and marriage of a murderous bridegroom and his innocent bride. 

He would like not to kill. He would like

what he imagines other men have,

instead of this red compulsion. Why do the women

fail him and die badly? He would like to kill them gently,

This Is a Photograph of Me

by Margaret Atwood

‘This Is a Photograph of Me’ is the first poem of Margaret Atwood’s poetry collection, “The Circle Game,” published in 1964. This piece centers around a highly symbolic photograph.

It was taken some time ago.

At first it seems to be

a smeared

print: blurred lines and grey flecks

Vermilion Flycatcher, San Pedro River, Arizona

by Margaret Atwood

‘Vermilion Flycatcher, San Pedro River, Arizona’ by Margaret Atwood discusses the ways that nature changes and doesn’t change over time as well as humanity’s impact (or lack thereof).

The river’s been here, violent, right where we’re standing,

you can tell by the trash caught overhead in the trees.

Now it’s a trickle, and we’re up to our knees

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