Poems from the Postmodern Period

Hard Times by John Ashbery

Published in Shadow Train (1981), John Ashbery’s ‘Hard Times’ is about the poet’s take on the modern world and its future. It showcases people’s ignorance of the issues that troubles Ashbery the most.

Hard Times by John Ashbery Visual Representation

Forties Flick by John Ashbery

Published in John Ashbery’s award-winning poetry collection, Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror (1975), the poem ‘Forties Flick’ is a postmodern, nostalgic lyric on film noir of the “classic period.” This piece vividly portrays a trademark scene of Hollywood crime dramas of the 1940s.

Forties Flick by John Ashbery Visual Representation

The Window by Diane di Prima

‘The Window,’ an interesting poem is written by the Beat poet Diane di Prima, compares poetry to a “window” to a writer’s soul. It showcases how poetry captures the very essence of the poet and her thoughts.

The Window by Diane di Prima Visual Representation

Meeting the British by Paul Muldoon

‘Meeting the British’ is written in the context of Pontiac’s War of 1763 that took place in the aftermath of the French and Indian war during 1754-1763. This piece appears in the 1987 poetry collection by Paul Muldoon by the same name.

Meeting the British by Paul Muldoon Visual Representation

Girl Friend by C.D. Wright

C.D. Wright’s ‘Girl Friend’ poems appear in her poetry collection Steal Away (2002). This love poem is dedicated to Nina, the speaker’s girlfriend whom he first saw a few years ago.

Girl Friend by C.D. Wright Visual Representation

My Father by Peter Oresick

‘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.

My Father by Peter Oresick Visual Representation

Lonely Hearts by Wendy Cope

Wendy Cope’s ‘Lonely Hearts’ appears in her poetry collection “Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis”. This ironic piece talks about a speaker’s desperation over finding a perfect match in a lonely heart’s column.

Lonely Hearts by Wendy Cope Visual Representation

Sonnet by Cathy Park Hong

Cathy Park Hong’s ‘Sonnet’ is not a conventional poem having fourteen lines or a specific structure. This piece is filled with images that collectively tap on the theme of suffering.

Sonnet by Cathy Park Hong Visual Representation

Fallen Apples by Tom Hansen

‘Fallen Apples’ appears in Tom Hansen’s poetry collection “Fallen to Earth”. This poem records the movement of wasps through the apples fallen the night before.

Fallen Apples by Tom Hansen Visual Representation

White Apples by Donald Hall

The poet of ‘White Apples’ Donald Hall uses plain language and a simple style to describe the effect of a loved one’s death in a speaker’s mind. The way he misses his father is described in this poem.

White Apples by Donald Hall Visual Representation

Deportation by Carol Ann Duffy

‘Deportation’ appears in Carol Ann Duffy’s Somerset Maugham Award winner book of poetry “Selling Manhattan” (1987). This piece speaks on themes of exile, linguistic supremacy, and cultural dominance.

Deportation by Carol Ann Duffy Visual Representation

Syntax by Carol Ann Duffy

In Carol Ann Duffy’s ‘Syntax,’ surprising language of love lands like a lover’s warm touch and scribbles on your skin, right off the page. The Rumpus, in praise of Duffy’s poetry collection “Rapture” (2005) remarked so, that aptly applies to this poem.

Syntax by Carol Ann Duffy Visual Representation

Name by Carol Ann Duffy

Carol Ann Duffy’s ‘Name’ is a beautiful love poem from her poetry collection “Rapture”. It centers on a speaker’s adoration of her beloved and how she thinks of her name.

Name by Carol Ann Duffy Visual Representation

Shooting Stars by Carol Ann Duffy

A Jew waiting to fall apart into pieces, German soldiers waiting to kill more; this theme is featured in many holocaust poems of the 20th century and Carol Ann Duffy’s ‘Shooting Stars’ is one of them. This piece tells the story of a Jewish girl who speaks of the sufferings she endured.

Shooting Stars by Carol Ann Duffy Visual Representation

Decomposition by Zulfikar Ghose

‘Decomposition’ is written by the Pakistani-American poet Zulfikar Ghose. This poem centers on a photograph of an old beggar sleeping on the pavement and contrasts artistic composition with physical decomposition.

Decomposition by Zulfikar Ghose Visual Representation

Lullaby by John Fuller

‘Lullaby’ by John Fuller is a sweet and beautiful cradle song. This poem features a baby’s innocent image by contrasting it with the external ambiance.

Lullaby by John Fuller Visual Representation

Olives by A.E. Stallings

‘Olives’ is the title poem of A.E. Stallings’ third book of poetry by the same name. It explores the features of the fruit and its resemblance to her poems.

Olives by A.E. Stallings Visual Representation

I Am Offering this Poem by Jimmy Santiago Baca

‘I Am Offering this Poem’ by Jimmy Santiago Baca taps into what most lovers of poetry probably already know, that poetry supplies spiritual and emotional sustenance to humankind. It was published in 1979 in “Immigrants in Our Own Land.”

I Am Offering this Poem by Jimmy Santiago Baca Visual Representation

Amends by Adrienne Rich

‘Amends’ by Adrienne Rich is a beautiful poem in which the poet depicts the moon. She describes its presence in the sky and the peace it brings to humanity.

Betrothal by Carol Ann Duffy

‘Betrothal’ appears in Carol Ann Duffy’s T.S. Eliot Prize-winning collection of poetry Rapture (2005). It offers readers a speaker’s desperate attempts to submit herself through the institution of marriage.

Betrothal by Carol Ann Duffy Visual Representation

Still I Rise by Maya Angelou

‘Still I Rise’ is an inspiring and emotional poem that’s based around Maya Angelou’s experiences as a Black woman in America. It encourages readers to love themselves fully and persevere in the face of every hardship.

Lady Lazarus by Sylvia Plath

‘Lady Lazarus’ is one of the best poems of Sylvia Plath and an ideal example of Plath’s diction. This poem contains Plath’s poetic expression of her suicidal thoughts.

Lady Lazarus by Sylvia Plath Visual Representation

Metaphors by Sylvia Plath

‘Metaphors’ by Sylvia Plath is an autobiographical piece. It was written during Plath’s pregnancy and discusses the meaning of motherhood.

Metaphors by Sylvia Plath Visual Representation

Belfast Confetti by Ciaran Carson

Ciaran Carson’s poem ‘Belfast Confetti’ describes how external conflicts influence a speaker’s mind. It speaks on the aftermath of the Troubles in Belfast.

Belfast Confetti by Ciaran Carson Visual Representation

Discover and learn about the greatest poetry, straight to your inbox

Start Your Perfect Poetry Journey

The Best-Kept Secrets of Poetry

Discover and learn about the greatest poetry ever straight to your inbox