Core Learning Poems

41 to 60 of 75 Poems
  • By Elizabeth Drew Barstow Stoddard
    Poem Guide

    The 19th century was a grim time to give birth. Before public health became a significant concern for governments, an estimated 175 deaths occurred for every 1,000 births in the United States, with the number jumping significantly depending on geography,...

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  • By Rae Armantrout
    Poem Guide

    Look at an old picture of yourself—a candid group photo is best, but a posed head shot or even a painting will do. How would you have described yourself back then? Would you describe yourself the same way now? How...

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  • By Percy Bysshe Shelley
    Poem Guide

    Shelley’s friend the banker Horace Smith stayed with the poet and his wife Mary (author of Frankenstein) in the Christmas season of 1817. One evening, they began to discuss recent discoveries in the Near East. In the wake of Napoleon’s...

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  • By John Ashbery
    Poem Guide

    Stepping into John Ashbery’s poetry is like stepping into another mind that is surprising and sad and full of odd gleam. His poems don’t snowball toward an epiphany, nor do they stick to the story. They veer as the mind...

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  • By Walt Whitman
    Poem Guide

    In 1869, two marvels of engineering altered the course of history forever. That May, the last spike was driven into the ground on the American transcontinental railroad, connecting the country definitively from East to West. Six months later and half...

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  • By George Oppen
  • By Elizabeth Alexander
    Poem Guide

    With its careful humor and gentle ironies, Elizabeth Alexander’s “Race” ends up as a poem about race and family, a poem about how poems tell stories and a poem about how race can guide the stories poems tell. Alexander has...

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  • By William Carlos Williams
    Poem Guide

    At age 15, I was a bit of a mess. My mother had died the year before, leaving my father and me alone to piece together our lives. I was fumbling around, looking for a way to make sense of...

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  • By Edna St. Vincent Millay
    Poem Guide

    A person stands and looks at mountains, turns to look at a bay, lies down and screams, and gets up. This is nearly all that “happens” in Edna St. Vincent Millay’s "Renascence,” the poem that made her famous at just...

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  • By Robert Frost
    Poem Guide

    Robert Frost wrote “The Road Not Taken” as a joke for a friend, the poet Edward Thomas. When they went walking together, Thomas was chronically indecisive about which road they ought to take and—in retrospect—often lamented that they should, in...

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  • By Thomas Hardy
    Poem Guide

    Thomas Hardy
    Emma Hardy lay dead in a coffin at the foot of Thomas Hardy’s bed for three nights before her disconsolate widower finally had her buried. By the winter of 1912, with Modernity swiftly colonizing English culture, such an operatic...

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  • By James L. Dickey
    Poem Guide

    If the history of poetry had a red-light district, James Dickey would be found down one of its darker alleys. His poems’ sexual subjects include father-daughter whipping (“May Day Sermon”), wicked Peeping Toms (“The Fiend”), adultery (“Adultery”), a stewardess doing...

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  • By Robert Lowell
    Poem Guide

    “Skunk Hour” depicts a man at a moment of crisis.

    In the early 1950s, Robert Lowell was a successful, even famous poet, yet was writing few poems. American culture was changing rapidly and dynamically in those postwar years, and...

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  • By Elizabeth Barrett Browning
    Poem Guide

    Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s exciting and excited sonnet takes part in the centuries-old tradition of amorous sonnets and sonnet sequences (as old as the sonnet form, as Dante and Petrarch), but also draws on the new Victorian kind of poem called...

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  • By John Donne
    Poem Guide

    John Donne (1572-1631) wrote a prose work called Paradoxes and Problems, and his life presents plenty of both: he was born a Catholic, gained notoriety for sacrilegious verse, and later in life became an Anglican priest. Though some of his...

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  • By Wallace Stevens
    Poem Guide

    Wallace Stevens’s “Sunday Morning” (1915) is a lofty poetic meditation—almost a philosophical discourse—rooted in a few basic questions: what happens to us when we die? Can we believe seriously in an afterlife? If we can’t, what comfort can we take...

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  • By Louise Bogan
    Poem Guide

    Louise Bogan
    “That woman will be able to do anything,” declared Robert Frost after reading Louise Bogan’s “A Tale,” the opening poem in her first book, Body of This Death. At the time of the book’s publication in 1923, Bogan was...

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  • By Robert Hayden
    Poem Guide

    If there were a Top of the Pops for poetry, Robert Hayden’s "Those Winter Sundays" would be on it. Ten years ago, based on a Columbia University Press survey, the poem was ranked the 266th most anthologized poem in English....

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  • By Walt Whitman
    Poem Guide

    On July 6, 1855, the first advertisement appeared in the New York Tribune for the slender green book that changed the course of American poetry. Two dollars was a fair price for the first edition of Leaves of Grass. Walt...

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  • By William Carlos Williams
    Poem Guide


    Written in 1934–35, near the depth of the Great Depression, “To a Poor Old Woman” begins as a poem of democratic sentiment and casual observation, with social injustice not very far in the background. The poet watches a “poor old...

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41 to 60 of 75 Poems

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