Great, accessible poetry to share with others?
April 1, 2014 12:36 PM   Subscribe

For National Poetry Month last year, I posted a poem a day for a certain circle of friends on Facebook. This was really well-received, and I'd like to continue this year but used up a lot of my favorites last year. What specific poems can you suggest that a general but well-educated audience would appreciate on first (or, at most, second) read?

I am aware of the Poetry 180 website and The Writer's Almanac, both of which frequently share the type of thing I am looking for, but I am looking for more specific suggestions.
posted by charmedimsure to Media & Arts (29 answers total) 45 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: (I did put a list of last year's choices in my profile, if that helps you get an idea of what I mean by "accessible.")
posted by charmedimsure at 12:37 PM on April 1, 2014 [3 favorites]

"Days" by Philip Larkin
posted by jbickers at 12:40 PM on April 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

I was going to suggest Mary Oliver but I saw you already used one of hers! How about one of Thomas Lux's - Tarantulas on a Lifebuoy, perhaps?
posted by julthumbscrew at 12:42 PM on April 1, 2014 [2 favorites]

"You Fit Into Me" by Margaret Atwood
"A Step Away from Them" by Frank O'Hara
posted by sallybrown at 12:45 PM on April 1, 2014 [2 favorites]

Langston Hughes.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:49 PM on April 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

A.E. Stallings's "The Wife of the Man of Many Wiles" (provided they know The Odyssey)
William Blake's "The Clod and the Pebble" (if less contemporary is okay)
Any of Pablo Neruda's love sonnets
Taylor Mali's "Tony Steinberg: Brave Seventh Grade Viking Warrior"
Billy Collins's "Introduction to Poetry"
posted by xenization at 12:58 PM on April 1, 2014 [3 favorites]

Robert Hayden's "Those Winter Sundays"

Elizabeth Bishop's "One Art"
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 1:05 PM on April 1, 2014 [3 favorites]

The Poetry Archive is a useful resource.

Poems that might fit the bill:
A Glass of Water by May Sarton (this was one I first saw on a hospital waiting-room wall)
Prayer by Carol Ann Duffy
Sometimes by Sheenagh Pugh

I will be watching this post with interest.
posted by Martha My Dear Prudence at 1:15 PM on April 1, 2014

e. e. cummings' In Just--; read by cummings here.
posted by jamjam at 1:17 PM on April 1, 2014

Ivan coyote:
I want you to know that I know it is not always easy to love me. That sometimes my chest is a field full of landmines and where you went last night you can’t go tomorrow. There is no manual, no roadmap, no helpline you can call. My body does not come with instructions, and sometimes even I don’t know what to do with it. This cannot be easy, but still, you touch me anyway.
(Spoken word, so format as you like)
posted by saucysault at 1:24 PM on April 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

"Not Waving But Drowning" by Stevie Smith
posted by Pwoink at 1:28 PM on April 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

This Be the Verse, Philip Larkin
My Last Duchess, Robert Browning
A Broken Appointment, Thomas Hardy
posted by Ideefixe at 1:34 PM on April 1, 2014

"Girl Writing A Letter" by William Carpenter: "A thief drives to the museum in his black van..."

"Elegy," Jorge Luis Borges

"As I Walked Out One Evening," W. H. Auden
posted by Diablevert at 1:42 PM on April 1, 2014

Yusuf Komunyakaa is a delight and "Facing It" is very accessible.

Shailja Patel (full disclosure, a friend from back in my art admin days) has some beautiful poems on history, personal-meets-global.

I'll look through my W.S. Merwin (national Poet Laureate) and find something specific to recommend for him as well.
posted by spamandkimchi at 1:55 PM on April 1, 2014 [2 favorites]

This is a photograph of me by Margaret Atwood
posted by saucysault at 2:28 PM on April 1, 2014

Stanley Kunitz, Benediction
Theodore Roethke,The Waking
Karl Shapiro, Auto Wreck
David Ignatow, Dilemma
May Swenson, Question
Richard Wilbur, Love Calls Us to the Things of this World
Jack Gilbert, Falling and Flying
Jorie Graham, Prayer
Howard Nemerov, Because You Asked About the Line Between Prose and Poetry
Carolyn Kizer, Amusing Our Daughters
Richard Hugo, Degrees of Gray in Phillipsburg
Robert Creeley, The Rain
James Wright, Complaint
Adrienne Rich, Prospective Immigrants Please Note
posted by pretentious illiterate at 2:34 PM on April 1, 2014 [2 favorites]

Naming of Parts by Henry Reed. Bonus: a reading from Henry Reed and Frank Duncan. [via]
posted by unliteral at 4:42 PM on April 1, 2014

Now comes the long blue cold, Mary Oliver
A Little Tooth, Thomas Lux
The Sciences Sing a Lullabye, Albert Goldbarth
April in Maine, May Sarton
I Remember, Anne Sexton
The Quiet World, Jeffrey McDaniel
Across a Great Wilderness Without You, Keetje Kulpers
From Blossoms, Li-Young Lee
Love After Love, Derek Walcott
Happiness Writes White, Edward Hirsch
Turning, W.S. Merwin
posted by vakker at 6:43 PM on April 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

Anything by Howard Nemerov.
posted by jeffamaphone at 7:51 PM on April 1, 2014

Lyn Hejinian, sections of My Life.
Paul Celan, "Erblinde."
Rainer Maria Rilke, "But if you'd try this ..."
Wallace Stevens, "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird"
posted by Monsieur Caution at 8:06 PM on April 1, 2014

Please include some by Lawrence Ferlinghetti!

I like "Dog".

More of his poems are here and here.
posted by bertran at 2:17 AM on April 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

Still I Rise Maya Angelou
posted by BoscosMom at 3:33 AM on April 2, 2014

Muriel Rukeyser Elegy in Joy
John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester 1647–1680 "Love and Life: A Song"
Mary Oliver "The Summer Day" [This was a hit when I put it on FB]
Elizabeth Bishop "Conversation"
posted by honey-barbara at 3:46 AM on April 2, 2014

Wislawa Szymborska, A Cat in an Empty Apartment
Lisel Mueller, Monet Refuses the Operation
Margaret Atwood, February
Richard Brautigan, Love Poem
Jack Gilbert, To See If Something Comes Next
Sandra Beasley, Unit of Measure
Louise Gluck, Adult Grief
CP Cavafy, Ithaka
Billy Collins, Marginalia

Also, Edwin Morgan, The Loch Ness Monster's Song. It's important for that one to be read aloud, and it's helpful to know that it's a poem about the Loch Ness Monster surfacing, looking around for his friend diplodocus, and going back underwater in disgruntlement when he can't find him.
posted by Vibrissa at 9:44 AM on April 2, 2014

Stephen Dobyns, How To Like It
Robert Pinsky, Impossible To Tell
Nick Flynn, Cartoon Physics, part 1
Robert Creeley, I Know a Man
posted by exit at 10:47 AM on April 2, 2014

Response by poster: You guys are awesome! Thank you!
posted by charmedimsure at 1:11 PM on April 3, 2014

E.B. White's "Natural History" is lovely.
posted by MonkeyToes at 4:01 PM on April 12, 2014

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