The poem ‘Gathering the Bones Together’ describes the grief and trauma that Gregory Orr had to go through after accidentally killing his younger brother.
‘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.
‘Grandfather’ by Michael S. Harper describes the treatment Harper’s grandfather endured and alludes to racism within the United States more generally.
In ‘Nikki-Rosa,’ Nikki Giovanni explores her experiences while growing up in a closely-knit black community in 1950s America.
‘Parents’ by William Meredith is an interesting and relatable poem about childhood and parenthood. It is at times moving and comedic.
‘Bells for John Whiteside’s Daughter’ by John Crowe Ransom is an elegy for Whiteside’s daughter, a young girl who passed away suddenly. It’s unclear why she died, but, the speaker spends the bass majority of this poem depicting her lively and playful life.
‘Sadie and Maud’ by Gwendolyn Brooks is a poem about finding happiness, dealing with sexism, and society’s expectations. It features the stories of two sisters-Maud and Sadie who take different paths in life.
‘Aviation’ by Alice Fulton is a poem about a single speaker’s highly relatable feelings of isolation in her small town. She sees herself as separate and alienated from those around her.
‘The Broken Chain’ by Ron Tranmer explores the feelings of grief that a family suffers when one of their much-loved members passed away. The poet uses the metaphor of a broken chain to describe their loss.
‘Docker’ is a 1966 poem by Seamus Heaney which depicts the life of a dockworker in Belfast and explores his personal and religious sense of discord.
‘To a Young Girl’ by William Butler Yeats is a poem about a past love and how lovers know one another better than anyone else.
‘Coward’ by A.R. Ammons is a very short poem that speaks about bravery and asks the reader to analyze the truth of a single statement.
‘Spirits of the Dead’ by Edgar Allan Poe is a beautiful poem that describes life and death. Specifically, the poet dwells on what it means to move from one world to the next.
‘The Tropics in New York’ by Claude McKay is a thoughtful poem about homesickness. It takes place in New York and includes a speaker’s longing for the elements of his home.
‘Sometimes in Winter’ by Linda Pastan is an interesting poem about freedom, happiness, and caring for those one loves.
‘Grandmother’ (1991) is written by the Native American feminist poet Paula Gunn Allen. This poem is about the role of a speaker’s grandmother in her family.
‘Sea Grapes’ by Derek Walcott is a deep and interesting poem. In it, Walcott uses numerous allusions to convey a message about choosing between lust and responsibility.
‘Begotten’ appears in the American poet Andrew Hudgins’ poetry collection The Glass Hammer: A Southern Childhood (1994). This poem is about a child finding his resemblance to the other members of his family.
‘Black Silk’ by Tess Gallagher is a sorrowful poem. In it, the speaker uses a silk vest to convey the emotion surrounding a loss.
‘Origin of the Marble Forest’ by Gregory Orr is an interesting and moving poem about someone’s past relationships. The speaker declares them “stone,” solidifying them in their life forever.
‘Nani’ by Alberto Ríos is a multi-layered poem. In it, the poet addresses themes like family, heritage, and the past.
‘Come Up from the Fields Father’ by Walt Whitman is a moving war-time poem. Through its lines, the poet addresses the effect of a son’s death on his family.
‘The Throwback’ by Paul Muldoon is a thoughtful poem. In it, the speaker celebrates his partner’s heritage and relates it back to Ancient Greece.
‘Eating Together’ by Li-Young Lee is a beautiful contemporary poem about death. It uses a thoughtful simile and direct language.
‘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.
‘I Have News’ by Juliette A. H. Cavendish is a moving poem. In it, the speaker describes the aftermath of a death and how they contended with it.
‘My Father’ by Peter Oresick is a poem that delves into the narrator’s relationship with his father. The narrator is regretful that his father’s pain created a wall between them, and he yearns to better understand him.
‘Hitchhiker’ by John Payne is an interesting poem about a speaker’s reaction to loss. They address someone who has passed away and explore what that means for them.
‘Sonnet’ by George Henry Boker is a war-time sonnet. It was written in order to emphasize how brave soldiers are and what they sacrifice.
‘Afterglow’ by Helen Lowrie Marshall is a popular funeral poem. It describes a speaker’s hope that they’re remembered fondly and warmly.