‘Two Scavengers in a Truck, Two Beautiful People in a Mercedes’ by Lawrence Ferlinghetti explores wealth and class differences in the United States.
‘Clouds at Evening’ by Robinson Jeffers is a beautiful poem that speaks to the earth and considers the value of dreams vs. reality.
‘Root Cellar’ by Theodore Roethke is a short eleven-line poem that describes a variety of disgusting and smelly plant life that exists within a speaker’s root cellar.
‘the Cambridge ladies who live in furnished souls’ by E. E. Cummings is about the differences in social classes, ignorance, and reality. The speaker judges the Cambridge women for the fiction they engage in and their lack of interest in the real world.
‘Two or Three Wishes’ belongs to Carl Dennis’s poetry collection Ranking the Wishes (1997). This piece is about the veracity of imagination and the role of truth.
In this poem, Stephen Dunn alludes to Plato’s Allegory of the Cave or Plato’s Cave by the same title. This piece raises a number of philosophical questions with respect to the political history of the 20th century.
‘On the Beach at Night Alone’ by Walt Whitman is a powerful poem. In it, Whitman discusses how everything that has ever existed or will ever exist is connected.
‘Suicide in the Trenches’ is an incredibly tragic poem. Siegfried Sassoon explores the mental deterioration of a young soldier in the trenches of WW1 and his suicide.
‘Beware: Do Not Read This Poem’ by Ishmael Reed is a thoughtful poem about culture and how language is used to tell stories. The poem warns against becoming too consumed within one method of storytelling.
‘Sonnet 148,’ also known as ‘O me! What eyes hath Love put in my head,’ uses figurative language to describe the speaker’s state of mind. He’s blinded to his mistress’s faults, just like the sun becomes blinded by rain and clouds.
‘Zoom!’ by Simon Armitage is a thoughtful poem about the vast nature of the universe. It also emphasizes the tiny role humans have to play in it.
‘The Harlem Dancer’ by Claude McKay is a thoughtful poem about a dancer’s inner life. It speaks on the duality of what people see and what people experience.
‘Harlem Shadows’ by Claude McKay memorably addresses the lives of Black sex workers in Harlem. The poet describes their experience while also acknowledging their strength.
‘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.
‘Cinderella’ by Roald Dahl retells the story of Cinderella and how rather than marrying the Prince, she ends up with a lovely man who makes jam.
‘Disillusionment of Ten O’Clock’ by Wallace Stevens describes a speaker’s disappointed with a population living predictably boring lives.
‘The Year’ by Ella Wheeler Wilcox is a six stanza poem that is divided into sets of two lines, also known as couplets. She goes on in the second half of the poem to list out additional parts of life in order to show their connection and simultaneous presence.
‘The Stick-Together Families’ by Edgar Guest describes the main reason that some families, rich or poor, are happier than others.
‘Meru’ by William Butler Yeats describes the illusion of civilization and the importance of embarking on a spiritual journey.
‘Low Barometer’ by Robert Bridges describes a world in which ghosts are brought from the afterlife into the present during a storm.
‘The Swan’ by John Gould Fletcher describes the movements of a swan within a body of water and a speaker’s desire to escape his life.
‘Song’ by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow is made up of a speaker’s plea that his “heart” remain indoors and avoid the brutal real world.
‘Barbie Doll’ by Marge Piercy was inspired by the traditional girl’s toy, the Barbie Doll. It explores themes of feminism and expectations.
‘A Pæan’ describes the feelings experienced by a husband as he views his dead wife and his desire to sing a “pæan” rather than a “requiem.”
‘Sequence in a Hospital’ by Elizabeth Jennings speaks on the hopes, fears, and routines that develop during a long stay at a hospital.
‘My Fancy’ by Lewis Carroll is a poem where confusion and exaggeration are offered to show a distinct variation between expectation and reality.
‘Morn Show Appearance’ is a poem that mocks the process of daily routine by infusing robotic and theatrical qualities to it.
‘Snowdrop’ by Ted Hughes is a poem that uses juxtaposition and uncertainty to express the commotion that occurs at the end of life.
‘Skin’ by Philip Larkin speaks on the importance of a person’s identity. Specifically, he is concerned with the influence and biographical aspects of the skin.
‘Friesian Bull’ by Gillian Clarke is a tale of a bull that is angry at his current state of being locked in his “brick and concrete stall”.