Poems about Coming of Age

Stafford Afternoons by Carol Ann Duffy

Duffy’s ‘Stafford Afternoons’ is all about a child losing her way in the adult world and coming across an offensive scene that would leave its dark imprints in her mind.

Stafford Afternoons by Carol Ann Duffy Visual Representation

The Beach by Robert Graves

‘The Beach’ by Robert Graves is a poem about the contrast between childhood innocence and an adult mindset. The poem depicts this dichotomy by demonstrating the difference between how a boatman and a group of children interact with the ocean.

The Beach by Robert Graves Visual Representation

Quinceañera by Judith Ortiz Cofer

‘Quinceañera’ appears in Judith Ortiz Cofer’s Silent Dancing: A Partial Remembrance of a Puerto Rican Childhood (1991). This coming-of-age poem is about a speaker’s physical and mental changes.

Quinceañera by Judith Ortiz Cofer Visual Representation

35/10 by Sharon Olds

’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.

35:10 by sharon olds

Barn Owl by Gwen Harwood

‘Barn Owl’ by Gwen Harwood is a powerful poem about losing one’s innocence. While using symbolism, the poet depicts a child sneaking off to shoot a barn owl.

Barn owl by gwen harwood

Sonnet 115 by William Shakespeare

‘Sonnet 115,’ also known as ‘Those lines that I before have writ do lie,’ is a poem about the ever-maturing nature of the speaker’s love for the Fair Youth. 

Rhyme of the Dead Self by A.R.D. Fairburn

‘Rhyme of the Dead Self’ by A.R.D. Fairburn is a captivating poem in which the poet speaks about youth and coming of age through images of violence and religion.

All the world’s a stage by William Shakespeare

‘All the world’s a stage’ is a well-known monologue found in William Shakespeare’s ‘As You Like It’. This speech of Jaques explores the seven ages of man and their implications.

All the world’s a stage by William Shakespeare Visual Representation

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