Summer Reads

Some of our favorite recent features from

by The Editors
Summer Reads

The dog days of summer are upon us. In some circles, that means time for cheap-thrills beach reads. In ours, it means time for poetry of all kinds. Here we've pulled together some of our favorite essays from the past year—ranging from a fascinating essay on an influential but little-known editor named Ronald Lane Latimer and a lively exploration of poetry’s first lines to a terrific appreciation of the poet Rachel Wetzsteon. We have also made them available as a downloadable eBook you can explore at your leisure.

“Good poems weird the truth, rearrange it, re-present it, cause us to re-envision the past,” writes Camille Dungy in her wonderful craft essay. We hope these slanted views bring you enjoyment and much to think about during the days ahead.


Mystery Man

For a few years in the 1930s, Ronald Lane Latimer struck gold as an editor, publishing Stevens, Williams, and more. Then he disappeared.
by Ruth graham


Tell It Slant

How to write a wise poem.
by Camille T. Dungy


Left Behind

Can poetry comfort the grieving?
by Joy Katz


Where Shall I Begin?

Inspiration and instruction in poetry’s first lines.
by Jessica Greenbaum


Not Quite

Why Rachel Wetzsteon is her generation’s best love poet.
by Adam Kirsch


Rumors of the Stars

Why would a poet try to immortalize gossip?
by Austin Allen


See What You Miss by Being Dead?

Elegy for a suicide in Matt Rasmussen’s Black Aperture.
by Kathleen Rooney


Lost at Sea

Why shipwrecks have engaged the poetic imagination for centuries.
by Casey N. Cep

This article was updated on August 13th, 2014.  You can read last year’s summer picks, which are also available as a downloadable eBook, here.
Originally Published: August 20, 2013


On August 27, 2013 at 9:56am Slow Reader wrote:
Truly I cannot thank you enough for this set of wonderful and moving essays I just loaded onto my Kindle to read during my next period of waiting in doctors' offices.
What a superb end-of-summer treat for this lonely parent whose last child (of four) just went to college ...

POST A COMMENT welcomes comments that foster dialogue and cultivate an open community on the site. Comments on articles must be approved by the site moderators before they appear on the site. By submitting a comment, you give the Poetry Foundation the right to publish it. Please note: We require comments to include a name and e-mail address. Read more about our privacy policy.

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.