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W.S. Merwin: “Berryman”
A poet revisits his legendary teacher’s advice.
Wallace Stevens: “Sunday Morning”
The first great flight of a Modernist legend
Anne Sexton: “The Truth the Dead Know”
The impersonal power of a confessional classic
James Merrill: “The Victor Dog”
The poet inhabits a dog and listens to his master’s voice.
John Clare: “To John Clare”
A Romantic poet imagines a better life, where he never grew up.
Edna St. Vincent Millay: “Renascence”
A Modern poet’s message and her mediums
Wilfred Owen: “Insensibility”
A reluctant soldier responds to mass tragedy.
Wallace Stevens: “The Emperor of Ice-Cream”
The chilly heart of a whimsical poem
John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester: “Upon Nothing”
What Jerry Seinfeld and a 17th century libertine have in common.
William Butler Yeats: “Easter, 1916”
How the conflict of a nation was captured by a politically reluctant poet.