In ‘Jazz Fantasia’ Carl Sandburg conveys his feelings about the rise of jazz music and Black culture in America.
‘Touch Me’ by Stanley Kunitz is a moving poem about aging, the loss of identity, and desire. It explores what keeps people, and creatures of all varieties, going as they enter the final “season” of their life.
The poem ‘Gathering the Bones Together’ describes the grief and trauma that Gregory Orr had to go through after accidentally killing his younger brother.
‘Two Scavengers in a Truck, Two Beautiful People in a Mercedes’ by Lawrence Ferlinghetti explores wealth and class differences in the United States.
‘The Yachts’ by William Carlos Williams depicts the winners, or yacht-owners, in the capitalist system and the losers, or the poor, who are drowning in the waters around the boats.
‘Who in One Lifetime’ by Muriel Rukeyser is a poem about resistance in the face of war and suffering. The speaker asserts that a woman referred to only as “she” is standing strong despite what she’s seen.
‘Peter Quince at the Clavier’ by Wallace Stevens is a musical depiction of the story of Susanna and the Elders from the Book of Daniel. It describes the “feeling” of “music” and the nature of beauty.
‘Clouds at Evening’ by Robinson Jeffers is a beautiful poem that speaks to the earth and considers the value of dreams vs. reality.
‘A Brave and Startling Truth’ by Maya Angelou is a commonly quoted poem about humanity’s future. The poet alludes to the “truth” that humanity will arrive at when “we” realize we are the one true wonder of the world.
‘Persimmons’ by Li-Young Lee is a beautiful poem that describes the poet’s interest in language. It explores how a persimmon comes to symbolize both his family connections and his feelings of alienation from his peers.
This heartfelt Sterling A. Brown poem is all about the famous 20th-century blues artist Gertrude “Ma” Rainey, also known as the “Mother of the Blues.”
‘Macavity: The Mystery Cat’ is about a fiendish feline character from T. S. Eliot’s light verse collection, Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats. Macavity, the mastermind of criminal plots, knows how to cover his tracks.
‘How to Like It’ by Stephen Dobyns was written in order to explore a man’s struggle to accept change as he ages. The poem uses humor and very relatable emotions in order to appeal to readers.
‘Singapore’ by Mary Oliver is a highly relatable poem that speaks about life’s struggles and the beauty of mundane and graceful work. It is set in an airport bathroom in Singapore.
‘Grandfather’ by Michael S. Harper describes the treatment Harper’s grandfather endured and alludes to racism within the United States more generally.
‘Old Timers’ by Carl Sandburg speaks on the nature of war. Sandburg alludes to the ways in which history repeats itself no matter which country or time period one is in.
‘The Language of the Brag’ by Sharon Olds is an unforgettable poem about the strength and exceptionality of women’s bodies. It is set against the backdrop of giving birth.
‘Old Man’ by Edward Thomas is a thoughtful piece about the loss of memory and a disconnect to one’s past.
‘Quid Pro Quo’ by Paul Mariani is a confessional poem that narrates a speaker’s anger and frustration at God subsequent to his wife’s second miscarriage.
‘Credo’ by Robinson Jeffers is a powerful poem that asserts the poet’s beliefs about humanity’s connection to the natural world and explores how they contrast with the main tenants of Transcendentalism.
‘The Legend’ by Garrett Hongo speaks on themes of alienation and the struggle of immigrants within the United States. It focuses on the symbolic death of an older, Asian man in Chicago.
‘Incident’ by Countee Cullen describes a terrible incident from the poet’s youth that occurred when he was happily visiting Baltimore.
Comprising only two syllables, Ali’s ‘Me We’ is one of the shortest poems ever written. This poem evokes a wide array of meanings with just two simple pronouns.
‘The Map,’ written in 1934, is the signature poem of Elizabeth Bishop that transcends the boundaries of the real and imaginatively inspects the topographical features within a map.
T. S. Eliot’s ‘The Song of the Jellicles’ features the characteristics and nature of the Jellicle Cats, made famous by the musical adaptation, Cats by Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Have you ever gone to an ice cream store selling twenty-eight different flavors of literally everything? You’ll be doing yourself a favor by visiting BLEEZER’S ICE CREAM STORE.
In ‘Nikki-Rosa,’ Nikki Giovanni explores her experiences while growing up in a closely-knit black community in 1950s America.
William DeWitt (W. D.) Snodgrass’s personal piece ‘Mementos, 1’ is about the discovery of an old photograph of the speaker’s divorced wife and the stream of memories that came with it.
Adrienne Rich’s ‘Two Songs’ explores the themes of lust, physicality, and pleasure. These poems feature a speaker’s “post coitum” feelings.
‘Complaint’ is one of the early poems of James Wright with a conventional form and meter. This poem is about a rural folk’s dissatisfaction with her dead wife’s absence.