American Hero William Carlos Williams’ poem “Dedication for a Plot of Ground” tells the ordinary and remarkable American immigrant story.
When the Bard Had the Blues"If Shakespeare could feel depressed about his writing, then I'm certainly entitled to be depressed about mine."
The Intimacy of Walt Whitman’s “America”“What is a poet? He is a man speaking to men.”
“Where Ignorance Is Bliss, Tis Folly To Be Wise”David Lehman on why Thomas Gray’s “Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College” is an overlooked poetic masterpiece.
"The Oxen"Robert Pinsky reads Thomas Hardy's Christmas poem.
The Inventive Translations of Mary Sidney HerbertHow the Countess of Pembroke inspired John Donne.
A Taste for PlainnessThe simple perfection of the first American poet, Anne Bradstreet.
"This Is the Favorite Poem"Hear Mike Wallace read Robert Browning’s “My Last Duchess.”
Surf and TurfA 19th-century poem about a staring contest between a man and a fish.
Truth in DarknessHerman Melville is a master of conveying nature as a mysterious language we must speak but do not know.
Going SomewhereHow poets like Walter Raleigh reported on the quick flickers and sudden changes in emotional life.
Speaking in TonguesWhere pop meets Modernism.
Seize the DayTwo poets race to make the most of their scarce time on Earth.
Lullaby and LaughterThe strange appeal of George Gascoigne's self-inspecting humor.
Valentine's VoicesTwo love poems, one pure, the other deeply impure.
Learning to Love the Poems of Edward ThomasAmid war, James Wright’s favorite poet found peace in nature.
With a Little Help From My FriendsRobert Bridges made Gerard Manley Hopkins a poetry superstar.
Awkwardly CharmingThomas Hardy and the strangeness of bad writing that is somehow good.
"The Darkling Thrush"Thomas Hardy's timely meditation on the turning of an era.
Struggling Against the DarkA poem for the winter solstice.
The Mythic Love PoemWhere white-hot sexuality and white-hot hatred meet.
A Poet by Any Other NameWho is “the speaker” and does it matter?
Lucrezia Borgia’s Hair and Forgotten NamesWalter Savage Landor can write a memorable poem about almost anything.
Crazy in LoveFor Valentine’s Day, a poem Ezra Pound called “the most beautiful sonnet in the language.”
The Mystery of Vachel LindsayHow did the most visible poet in America—and a father of the Beats—become nearly forgotten?
In Praise of Memorizing Poetry—BadlyWhat we learn by misremembering our favorite lines.
Lost in CourtHow one of Ben Jonson's masterpieces found the world by leaving it behind.
Damned GreatWhy are William Cowper's poems so witty? Because he was convinced he was going to hell.
Street PoetHow the often-overlooked Lola Ridge became one of America's first great urban Modernists.
Poets Under PressureGoverning, aging, and facing execution.