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Poem Sampler
By The Editors

The complicated work of one of our most popular poets.

  • poem
    By Seamus Heaney


  • Essay on Poetic Theory
    By Alice Notley1998

    For a long time I've seen my job as bound up with the necessity of noncompliance with pressures, dictates, atmospheres of, variously, poetic factions,...

  • Article for Students
    By Rachel Richardson

    A history and how-to guide to the famous form.

  • Glossary Term
Featured Poet: Tracy K. Smith
    • author

      Tracy K. Smith was born in Massachusetts and raised in northern California. She earned a BA from Harvard University and an MFA in creative writing from Columbia University. From 1997...

    • Video
      From NewsHour Poetry Series

      As the Space Shuttle Endeavor rockets into space one last time, a poet here on earth explores the cosmos through words. Tracy K. Smith, a creative writing professor at Princeton...

    • poem
      By Tracy K. Smith
      But sometimes I forget where I am,
      Imagine myself inside that life again.
      Recalcitrant mornings. Sun perhaps,
      Or more likely colorless light
      Filtering its way through shapeless cloud.
      And when I begin to believe I haven’t...

    • poem
      By Tracy K. Smith
      After dark, stars glisten like ice, and the distance they span
      Hides something elemental. Not God, exactly. More like
      Some thin-hipped glittering Bowie-being—a Starman
      Or cosmic ace hovering, swaying, aching to make us see.
      And what would we do, you and I, if...

    • poem
      By Tracy K. Smith
      We like to think of it as parallel to what we know,
      Only bigger. One man against the authorities.
      Or one man against a city of zombies. One man
      Who is not, in fact, a man, sent to...

    • poem
      By Tracy K. Smith
      There will be no edges, but curves.
      Clean lines pointing only forward.

      History, with its hard spine & dog-eared
      Corners, will be replaced with nuance,

      Just like the dinosaurs gave way
      To mounds and mounds of ice.

      Women will still be women, but
      The distinction will be...

Poet 101's