Poetry

American Life in Poetry: Column 262

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

When we hear news of a flood, that news is mostly about the living, about the survivors. But at the edges of floods are the dead, too. Here Michael Chitwood, of North Carolina, looks at what’s floating out there on the margins.


The Coffins

American Life in Poetry: Column 261

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

All over this country, marriage counselors and therapists are right now speaking to couples about unspoken things. In this poem, Andrea Hollander Budy, an Arkansas poet, shows us one of those couples, suffering from things done and undone.

 

Betrayal

2009 Teen Poetry Contest Winners

Each year we celebrate National Poetry Month in April with our Teen Poetry Contest.

Teens in grades 7-12 from Fredericksburg, Stafford, Spotsylvania, and Westmoreland, are invited to submit up to three originial poems. Out-of-region library cardholders may also enter.

The winners are chosen (anonymously) by University of Mary Washington professor and Pulitzer Prize winning poet, Claudia Emerson.

Entries are accepted online between April 1 - 15.
Winners are selected from participants in grades 7-9 and grades 10-12.

American Life in Poetry: Column 260

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

These days are brim full of bad news about our economy—businesses closing, people losing their houses, their jobs. If there’s any comfort in a situation like this, it’s in the fact that there’s a big community of sufferers. Here’s a poem by Dana Bisignani, who lives in Indiana, that describes what it feels like to sit through a bankruptcy hearing.


Bankruptcy Hearing

American Life in Poetry: Column 258

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

This marks the fourth time we’ve published a poem by David Baker, one of my favorite writers. Baker lives in Granville, Ohio, and teaches at Denison University. He is also the poetry editor for the distinguished Kenyon Review.

Old Man Throwing a Ball

American Life in Poetry: Column 257

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

Often when I dig some change out of my jeans pocket to pay somebody for something, the pennies and nickels are accompanied by a big gob of blue lint. So it’s no wonder that I was taken with this poem by a Massachusetts poet, Gary Metras, who isn’t embarrassed.

 

Lint

Great Lives Series: Edgar Allan Poe

"We are not impotent- we pallid stones.
Not all our power is gone- not all our fame-
Not all the magic of our high renown-
Not all the wonder that encircles us-
Not all the mysteries that in us lie-
Not all the memories that hang upon
And cling around about us as a garment,
Clothing us in a robe of more than glory."
---From "The Coliseum" by Edgar Allan Poe

American Life in Poetry: Column 256


BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

A poem is an experience like any other, and we can learn as much or more about, say, an apple from a poem about an apple as from the apple itself. Since I was a boy, I’ve been picking up things, but I’ve never found a turtle shell until I found one in this poem by Jeff Worley, who lives in Kentucky.

 

On Finding a Turtle Shell in Daniel Boone National Forest

American Life in Poetry: Column 255

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

A honeymoon. How often does one happen according to the dreams that preceded it? In this poem, Wesley McNair, a poet from Maine, describes a first night of marriage in a tawdry place. But all’s well that ends well.

 

For My Wife