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W.S. Graham: “Dear Bryan Wynter”
How a poem brings language to loss and speaks to the dead.
Elizabeth Alexander: “Race”
What can we assume when we read a poem?
John Keats: “La Belle Dame sans Merci”
Elinor Wylie: “Wild Peaches”
An escape leads a young poet to confront her impulses.
Philip Sidney: Astrophil and Stella 63 (“O Grammar rules…”)
An Elizabethan plays a Modernist language game
John Ciardi: “A Trenta-Sei of the Pleasure We Take in the Early Death of Keats”
Making the difficult look easy.
Elizabeth Drew Barrow Stoddard: “One morn I left him in his bed”
The child elegy and the 19th-century poetess.
Agha Shahid Ali: “Tonight”
A contemporary take on an ancient Arabic form.
John Ashbery: “Paradoxes and Oxymorons”
Savoring the movement of the mind.
John Keats: “To Autumn”
In Keats’s finest season, even the gnats are mourning.