Leaves stacked against a black background

Eight Poems of Gratitude

Let us pause now and give thanks.
Photograph: Beah Richards in a still from the film, "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner."

The Poem That Inspired Radical Black Women to Organize

Beah Richards is best known as an actor, but in 1951 she wrote a sweeping poem that influenced the Civil Rights Movement.
Electric Fan

The Linguistic Case for Sh*t Hitting the Fan

Idioms have a special power to draw people together in a way that plain speech doesn't.
John Brown

America, Lost and Found at Wounded Knee

Stephen Vincent Benét’s lost epic “John Brown’s Body” envisions a nation sutured together after the Civil War, but fails to reckon with the war’s causes.
Robert Hayden

Robert Hayden’s Relatable Fatigue

There’s a constant attention to the burdens of history in Robert Hayden’s poems. Even amid the beauties of life, the ghosts of the past linger.

Everyday Life, Revisited—with Bernadette Mayer’s Memory

In the poet’s work, the small and ordinary rise to the level of heroic adventures. If we value human life, then we should value what makes up a life.
A Reading from Homer by Lawrence Alma Tadema, 1885

How Do We Know That Epic Poems Were Recited from Memory?

Scholars once doubted that pre-literate peoples could ever have composed and recited poems as long as the Odyssey. Milman Parry changed that.
Emily Dickinson, circa 1847

17 Poems by Emily Dickinson

Celebrate Emily Dickinson's birthday with a selection of her poems.
TS Eliot

T.S. Eliot

Remembering the famous modernist poet T.S. Eliot with his poem "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock."
A falling leaf

Eleven Poems for Fall

Cozy up to autumn with verse from Dylan Thomas, Rainer Maria Rilke, Robert Frost, Rita Dove, and more.