poems & poets

Search our curated collection of over 9,000 poems, over 2,500 poet biographies, as well as essays about poetry, and some of the most important books, anthologies, and textbooks about the art form ever written. To search by keyword, use the search bar above.



I would like to swim in the Atlantic,
to swim with someone who understood
why my fear of drowning plays less dire

than my fear of bones, walking the ocean floor.
I would like to sync my stroke with a beloved.
I’d like to stand on deck on a boat

and jump in the sea


I wandered lonely as a Cloud
   That floats on high o'er Vales and Hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
   A host of golden Daffodils;
Beside the Lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine

Love set you going like a fat gold watch.
The midwife slapped your footsoles, and your bald cry
Took its place among the elements.

Our voices echo, magnifying your arrival.  New statue.
In a drafty museum, your nakedness
Shadows our safety.  We stand round blankly as walls.

I'm no more your




Poetry that speaks to the enduring and irreversible coordinates of human fate—love, striving, fear of pain, hope, the fleeting nature of things, and death-leads us to believe that the poet is one of us, and shares in that fate. "We," the subject of such poetry, is determined neither by nation nor by class. But it would not be quite right to claim that its theme is therefore an eternal human nature, for as our consciousness changes, we humans try to confront ultimate things in new and different ways. In Wislawa Szymborska's poetry the "we" denotes all of us living on this planet now, joined by a common consciousness, a "post-consciousness," post-Copernican, post-Newtonian, post-Darwinian, post-two-World-Wars, post-crimes-and-inventions-of-the-twentieth-century. It is a serious and bold enterprise to venture a diagnosis, that is, to try to say who we are, what we believe in, and what we think.


Szymborska's "I" is an ascetic "I," cleansed not only of the

on Teaching Poetry

First, I must tell you, I don’t teach for a living. I am one of those writers whom many of you would consider as holding a day job, when in fact, my day job in public health I consider my career. It’s beneficial to the work of writing to have a life and perspective mostly outside of academic circles.

Second, I am interested in emerging API and especially Filipino American poets and readers of poetry, in having conversations with them, inspiring and encouraging them along the way. I am interested in their stories of being thwarted by poetry (not getting Shakespeare in high school, and being made to feel stupid because of this), and finding a way to come to poetry.

In the capacity of visiting artist or lecturer, my interactions with students are brief and jam-packed. I meet many emerging writers of color who consider themselves spoken word artists. I read their poetry, and I see them perform. In conversation, they tell me about word choice, about struggling to contain and

on Teaching Poetry

The focal point of the school, organizationally and mood-wise, is the principal. School principals, I find, may be helpful or not particularly, or may delegate helpfulness, but seldom trouble the poetry program as long as one is on time and seems confident. There’s little, however, the visiting poet can do about the mood of the whole school. One operates class by class, where the teachers are supremely important. The teacher is the bellwether of the class, of its developed attention. When the teacher writes along with the student, or simply listens alertly, this participation catalyzes the whole room.

On a more practical note, the teacher can exert authority, which the visiting poet doesn’t have, when it’s needed for the proper degree of order. For me, quietness is important when poems are being read aloud, and it’s an eternal little battle to bring classes “down” after the hurly-burly of creation. Essentials are learned in each state, the listening state and the composing


Please Excuse This Poem, edited by Brett Fletcher Lauer and Lynn Melnick
Teaching with Fire
Poetry Book
So Much Synth by Brenda Shaughnessy