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Poem Sampler

The Cranberry Cantos

Thanksgiving poems for family and friends.
Illustration: Mark McGinnis

Thanksgiving is a unique holiday in the United States—a time to celebrate and acknowledge the help of family and friends, and a reminder of what a gift it is to be alive. It’s a day to overindulge in the here and now, even as we reflect on the past. In other words, it’s a great holiday for poetry. These poems show that the occasion has provided poets—from Harriet Maxwell Converse in the 19th century to Elizabeth Alexander in the 21st—with plenty of food for thought. Whether you’re looking for a pre-meal toast, a way to give thanks, a scrap of American history, or a late-night conversation starter, these poems should provide ample stuffing.

Toasts and Prayers

Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing by James Weldon Johnson

The Thanksgivings by Harriet Maxwell Converse

Praise Song for the Day by Elizabeth Alexander

Thanksgiving by Edgar Guest

A Thanksgiving to God, for his House by Robert Herrick


Family, Food, and Fellowship

Butter by Elizabeth Alexander

Family Reunion by Maxine W. Kumin

Perhaps the World Ends Here by Joy Harjo

América by Richard Blanco

Stomackes by Albert Goldbarth

Thanksgiving Magic by Rowena Bastin Bennett

Yam by Bruce Guernsey

Totem by Eamon Grennan

Bless Their Hearts by Richard Newman

The New-England Boy's Song about Thanksgiving Day by Lydia Maria Child

First Thanksgiving by Sharon Olds

Thanksgiving for Two by Marjorie Saiser



Thanks by W.S. Merwin

The Delight Song of Tsoai-talee by N. Scott Momaday

Gratitude by Susan Ludvigson

Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude by Ross Gay

How Wonderful by Irving Feldman

Slant by Suji Kwock Kim


The Season

To Autumn by John Keats

November by Maggie Dietz

The Thrush by Edward Thomas

November for Beginners by Rita Dove

In November by Lisel Mueller

Signs of the Times by Paul Laurence Dunbar

Final Autumn by Annie Finch

Zebra by C.K. Williams

The Pumpkin by John Greenleaf Whittier

When the Frost is on the Punkin by James Whitcomb Riley

My Triumph  by John Greenleaf Whittier


Browse more Fall Poems 

Browse more Poems that Say 'Thank You'

Browse more Food Poems for Thanksgiving

Browse more Poems for Toasts and Celebrations



Thanksgiving Poems: Reflecting on gratitude this holiday season.

In the Middle of Dinner: Poems of food and family, tenderness and Thanksgiving.

“First Thanksgiving”: a poem by Sharon Olds.

Poem Sampler

The Cranberry Cantos

Thanksgiving poems for family and friends.

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