Brief overview of modern poets' approach to the subject of war and its atrocities, with links to classic and contemporary authors. Other useful links to World War I poets can be found on their Wilfred Owen page.
Poems for Ephesians is an online journal of poetry that leaps out of the images, ideas and inspirations of St. Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians in the New Testament. It is edited by D.S. Martin, Poet-in-Residence of McMaster Divinity College in Hamilton, Ontario.
By Julian Peters. Understand classic poems in a new way through this artistic dramatization of 24 works by Emily Dickinson, Langston Hughes, Carl Sandburg, Maya Angelou, Seamus Heaney, and many others.
San Francisco Chronicle article recounts the wartime experiences of famous Beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti and his conversion to pacifist principles after viewing the devastation at Nagasaki.
Amsterdam Printing, a maker of personalized pens and similar products, maintains this link directory of literary organizations and reference sites for students and teachers of writing.
Poetry blog on the Writer's Digest website features interviews with contemporary authors, writing prompts, advice on the craft, and introductions to exotic poetic forms.
High-level poetic debates abound at this listserv populated by published authors and professors, which was launched in 1993 by Charles Bernstein, a founder of the avant-garde Language Poetry movement. As of January 2014, the forum is no longer accepting new posts, but the archives are worth reading.
A poem a day for American high schools. For teens who think poetry is boring, remote and not for them, US poet laureate Billy Collins has 180 surprises. Comes with welcome advice on reading poems aloud.
Palestinian poet Hiyam Noir launched this website to bear witness to the suffering of Palestinians in refugee camps and work towards an end to Israeli occupation.
Pulitzer-nominated poet William Pitt Root riffs on poetry, politics and moral courage in this interview with Daniela Gioseffi. Mr. Root is the author of "The Unbroken Diamond: Nightletter to the Mujahideen".
A project of Arts Council England, the Poetry Archive features great poems for adults and children, video interviews with poets, and lesson plans. Their online store offers recordings of classic poetry read by writers and celebrities, and contemporary poets reading their own work.
"No Results for That Place" was chosen by Billy Collins for an Honorable Mention in the 2019 Fish Poetry Prize, and was published in Fish Anthology 2019.
The Deepest Hours
Sometimes my infant daughter
wakes in the middle of the night
My husband and I lull her back
to sleep with our various
His trick is to stroke her ears and mine, to
put the radio on static and
These things work like hypnosis, like
narcotics, like prayer:
hit or miss.
Sometimes our desperate trying
reminds me of all the stops
my mother pulled out, years ago
to try and cheer herself up
about life: liquor, crystals, seminars, triathlons
and legal drugs that made her hair fall out.
I remember driving home late
a senior in high school
and seeing her dart
across the road in front of our house
barefoot, eyes wide. I slammed
on the brakes and
when the car stopped
inches short of her
she met my eyes.
through the windshield and
my mind kept trying to turn her into a deer.
Like a doe she darted off wildly
over the dirt shoulder and into
the dark door of the forest.
My father was waiting at home.
I don't know what to do, he croaked, and
it was the only time in his whole macho life
that he ever admitted as much to me, so
although he was an abusive bastard
I took him in my arms
in the deepest hours
I sway that way with my daughter
to sedate her.
I remember how
my mother slept
still as a stone, for days and days
when she finally came home.
It was like
she wanted to forget
her husband, her house
her thoughts and me and
recapture the darkness of the woods.
Those nights I
set my daughter on my stomach
facing me, wobbly
and we talk.
Her words rattle up from her little chest
and straighten out into
rapturous ooohs and aaahs.
I tell her
all of my secrets and
we stay awake
First published in The New Guard
In Svay Pak
I met two girls
priced to sell.
They were sisters
six and eight
both trained well
and I spent forty U.S. dollars
to take them for the night.
I bought one a Crush and one
a Fanta, like the sweaty red
fat jolly foreign Santa that I was
and tucked them in.
If there are better things
in the life after this
let the record show that I have
been remiss in earning them.
In the ripe wet air
I watched them sleep
even if I come up with
a way to keep them
feed them, house them, clothe and
there will be
opened on damp red sheets
more, bent over
cracked plastic seats, pried
on earthen floors.
There will be more:
sold when they mature or
In a small, idyllic
East Coast town
my father laid
my body down
and opened it.
Poverty alone, then, cannot explain
this unmapped latitude of the
adult human brain and
even when Svay Pak
will shoulder this pain.
I thought these thoughts as
I brought the girls back
the morning sun distilling
itself from the sky.
There were Cormorants
circling as we said goodbye and
I remembered that, in fishing towns
the men once tied these birds to boats.
They exploited their beaks and
pulled the fish from their throats.
I imagine that these watchful birds
came to understand
the long and short of human will.
There is something slightly human
in their voices still: something
familiar and forsaking.
Every day after that, in Cambodia, waking
I noticed the echoes of the Cormorants' calls.
They fell gently between the peeling walls
of the brothels of Svay Pak.
For some reason, they both wore dresses
Alina and Shawn—he ten, she twelve
in the corner of Casa Del Lago Mobile Home Park
where a giant mud puddle formed
the closest thing to a lake
in at least three square miles, and
we closed in an expectant knot around them
shaded by scrappy cedars:
twelve scrappy kids
from three scrappy families.
Shawn had lost a bet
(on purpose, we suspected, as each of us
had seen him following Alina—even
since before her mother bought her
the training bra—down root-ripped paths
around the park's square, beige club house
with its frayed lounge chairs and disappointing pool
up the center of the one real road that divided neat rows of
not so neat homes)
and now he had to marry her.
This is a real wedding, we told him
and afterward if we catch you kissing
even on the cheek
we'll beat your skinny ass.
Maybe, being ten, he hadn't understood
the accoutrements of weddings
how the bride always wore the dress
and the groom, the tuxedo
in the framed photographs our parents kept
or perhaps his big sister
ringleader of the day
had forced him into the drooping white cotton
that slid and slid and slid
off his shoulders. The low sky
went gray and
a bracing wind picked up.
Do it, said the sister in a voice that meant business
and even now I remember
more clearly than I do my own
first wedding, or even the one
that stuck, how a
cold drop struck my shoulder
and a station wagon appeared slowly
in the street, past the trees—paused, backed up
turned around and drove away as
they moved together to kiss
she in white and he in white; how he
leaned with his eyes closed
like a man on the edge of a cliff
his whole body
taut and perspiring
the sudden drop before him
First published by Kore Press
Photographs of Earth
Street love: not sugary-sweet love, CBS or any other BS love
not Hallmark Greetings or business meetings between merging CEOs—
sidewalk love, bruisable but unusable by any outside force, immune
to penetration, lapsed communication, plague of the American nation—divorce—
elusive, tricky, jealousy-provoking, not just mutual ego-stroking, dirty love
just doing it better than Nike and less sinkable than Cheerios because
dirty equals more than bed-breaking sex.
Dirt is what we came from, what we stand on, the bed we'll go to, tectonic flex
of the textures and colors of skin, bone and the long lines of blood within.
Quiet love: not necessarily intelligible, possibly slurred
like the first photographs of the earth—blurred
but unmistakably irreversibly revolving its way around the sun
steadily, not clamoring to be heard.
First published in The Comstock Review
We called them piñata girls
girls you could fuck the fun out of
otherwise known as
hit it and quit it girls,
cheap girls, girls who got
their lip-gloss at the dollar store, whose
fathers probably beat them
but my brother
he was always a sucker for sweets.
He fell hard for a piñata girl
pretty little thing named Sonia
and against our best advice
he married her. In time the rest of us
forgot what we'd called her, the way
we'd picked on him for wanting her.
Turned out she was a good girl
smart, clean, funny and loyal
part of the family. They were happy
for about ten years.
Then my brother found out
he had lymphoma, right around the time
his youngest son turned three.
His last day at home before
what we thought was to be
a brief hospital visit
but turned out to be a long one
was his son's third birthday.
My brother was a hero
that day, exhausting himself
keeping ten screaming boys happy.
Everyone was happy, all day.
At the end of the party
before my wife and I headed home
I found my brother
hunched on his knees in the yard
picking up ruffles of yellow paper.
I watched him gently patch up
with his big, slow-moving hands
the wide-eyed pony piñata
that the boys had battered open
for candy. "What the hell
are you doing," I asked him, laughing.
My brother looked up at me.
"I'm taping her together," he said
his eyes as wide as the pony's
in the dimming bronze light
"so we can keep her."
First published in Mudfish
The Sleeping Couple
For years they slept bound, her
slender legs wound warmly in his
and their faces close, speaking in breath,
bartering in touch, until enough had
been said. Now they lie back
to back in their bed.
There is less physical talk.
Sometimes she feels his fingers
walk across her hip, like a solitary man
crossing a bridge, and once
she woke him with a quick squeeze
but there is little need
for exchanges like these. Outside,
a cold rain washes the trees
and a dim horizon blurs.
Massive clouds merge. Vast rivers join
and there is no conversation
as this occurs.
Comprehensive archive of mystical poetry from many eras and spiritual traditions, with brief biographies of the authors. Both Eastern and Western cultures are well-represented. Site is indexed by author's name, religious affiliation, and time period. A great way to learn about other cultures. Editor Ivan Granger explains, "A chaikhana is a teahouse along the legendary Silk Road pilgrimage and trading route linking China to the Middle East and Europe. It is a place of rest along the journey, a place to shake off the dust of the road, to sip tea, and to gather together to sing songs of the Divine...."
The online literary magazine Ardor maintains this annually updated page of links to 60+ poetry contests that the editors recommend. The contests are arranged in date order, with prizes and fees listed.
Poetry Cooperative is an online forum to share your poetry and win prizes. Basic membership is free, and Gold Tier membership is $10/month. Gold members have the opportunity to be paid $50 for work that is accepted for the Poetry Cooperative Magazine. The site also offers a monthly contest whose prize is one month of Gold membership.
From hundreds of books, journals and magazines, one fresh poem is featured every day. Click here for poems from the past year. Occasionally presents essays and interviews with poets. And for every poet who's been horrified by woeful critiques of their work, this poem by Billy Collins feels your pain. Publishers, send review copies here. Beginning poets, don't miss the recommended books page.
The writers' forum FanStory sponsors this website for emerging writers, which offers tips on writing in a variety of poetic forms.
Thirty-one younger American poets take on some of the great debates and literary manifestos from the history of modern poetry. One of many stimulating compilations from the Academy of American Poets' National Poetry Almanac.
Fun, attractive site introduces the basics of poetic technique, plus a few writing prompts to get you started. The addictive "e-muse" poetry generator creates surprisingly good free verse by asking you to fill in the blanks, Mad Libs style.
Poet and professor Jessica Piazza started this blog in 2015 to chronicle her plan to submit her poetry exclusively to journals and markets that paid their contributors. She wanted to challenge the prevailing culture that expects poets to be satisfied with publication or prestige rather than making a living. The blog features links to paying markets, interviews with editors and publishers, and essays by other professional writers about the financial aspects of poetry publishing.
Editors from over 20 countries collaborate on this site showcasing the best contemporary poetry from around the world, plus literary essays and interviews.
The Poetry Library at Southbank Centre maintains this page of poetry competition opportunities.
The Saison Poetry Library at the Southbank Centre maintains this online archive of 20th and 21st century UK poetry magazines, including both active journals and those that are no longer publishing. Not all journals have a complete press run available.
Poetry Northwest, the literary journal of Everett Community College in Washington, offers the quarterly poetry competition "The Pitch". Each round features a writing prompt drawn up by a notable writer and work submitted must adhere to the specifications outlined in the prompt. Work can be submitted via email as a Word.doc or pdf attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org (only these formats can be accepted) and include in the email message your name, address, phone number, and month/year of birth. One entry per person. Please include your legal name in the email address, even if you wish to be represented on our site by a pseudonym. See website for complete rules. Two finalists will be selected by the editorial staff for a public vote. The finalists will appear on poetrynw.org at the end of the quarter for which their pitch submission is received: for spring and summer, September 15; for fall, December 15; for winter, March 15. Voting will last three weeks. The winner will be published on the site in perpetuity, and will receive a one-year subscription to Poetry Northwest.
This website collects critical and biographical information for the poet, radio dramatist, and translator Henry Reed (1914-1986), best known for his antiwar poem 'Naming of Parts'.
'Poetry of Resilience' is a documentary by Academy Award-nominated director Katja Esson about six international poets who individually survived Hiroshima, the Holocaust, China's Cultural Revolution, the Kurdish Genocide in Iraq, the Rwandan Genocide, and the Iranian Revolution. These six artists present us with a close-up perspective of the "wide shot" of political violence. Each story is powerful, but the film's strength comes from its collective voice: different political conflicts, cultures, genders, ages, races – one shared human narrative.
This joint venture of the Poetry Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts awards over $100,000 in scholarships annually to high school students for memorizing and performing classic poems. Top prize is $20,000.
International directory of poetry links goes beyond English to include resources in many languages. Links to events, competitions, publishing news and help with the mechanics of poetry round out this handsome site. A great place for amateurs to improve their craft.
Reviews important contemporary poets and makes it easy to order their books.
PBS and the Poetry Foundation collaborated on this series of broadcasts featuring short-form profiles on living American poets and long-form segments on current debates in poetry. Listen/view past segments on their website.
Poetry slam is the competitive art of performance poetry. It puts a dual emphasis on writing and performance, encouraging poets to focus on what they're saying and how they're saying it. Click here to find local slams in the US, Canada and Europe. A National Poetry Slam meets in a US city each year in August.
Be sure to sign up for the weekly email update highlighting emerging poets and new poetry links.
Poetry Through the Ages, a project of the Institute for Dynamic Educational Development (IDEA), is a free online exhibit that showcases poetic forms and movements from different cultures, with examples and instructions. A special feature of the site is a new poetic form called "node poetry", which breaks the traditional linear flow of a poem into branching clusters of words that the reader can read in different sequences. Drawing its inspiration from synthetic and visual poetry, the form is found exclusively online, and enables readers to take the poet's lines and construct the poem as they explore it.
Poetry Through the Ages, a project of the Institute for Dynamic Educational Advancement (IDEA), is a free online exhibit that showcases poetic forms and movements from different cultures, with examples and instructions. A special feature of the site is a new poetic form called "node poetry", which breaks the traditional linear flow of a poem into branching clusters of words that the reader can read in different sequences. Drawing its inspiration from synthetic and visual poetry, the form is found exclusively online, and enables readers to take the poet's lines and construct the poem as they explore it.
By Jessica Westhead. Satirical chapbooks by one of Poetry.com's innumerable "semifinalists" memorialize her mostly fruitless efforts to contact the contest operators. Email Jessica to obtain a copy.
Online video showcase of over 150 poets reading their work at various venues in Southern California. Poets featured include US Poet Laureate Kay Ryan and Anne Carson. The site also includes video interviews with authors and publishers. Poetry.LA was started by poet Hilda Weiss and videographer/writer Wayne Lindberg as a way to bring broader exposure to poets beyond the coffeehouses, bookstores and cafes where most of these readings were taped.
From Slate, A.O. Scott and Katha Pollitt probe the gap between 'official' poetry and poetry's stealth bestsellers, and the challenge of teaching classic work without scaring students away. "I think a lot more Americans read poetry than we think, just not necessarily the poets most admired by Helen Vendler and Harold Bloom."
Powerful poems recall the Holocaust in words of grief, anger, love and truth. We particularly like this 2005 issue; see the PSH archives for links to previous annual Holocaust issues. These issues are published annually during the week of Holocaust Remembrance Day. Submissions are accepted during the preceding week only.
Video archive of contemporary poets reading their own work features a new short video every week. See website for instructions on submitting a video.
Excellent classifieds for contests, calls for manuscripts, workshops and services for writers.
In this interview with Poets & Writers Magazine from January 2009, award-winning poet Cynthia Lowen offers tips for maximizing your success with writing contests.
In this interview with Poets & Writers Magazine from January 2009, award-winning poet Cynthia Lowen offers tips for maximizing your success with writing contests.
Poets & Writers magazine compiled this list of racial justice resources to support protesters against police violence in the summer of 2020. It includes links to anti-racist books, bail funds, activist groups, and author fundraisers.
Poets for Living Waters is a poetry action in response to the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico begun on April 20, 2010, one of the most profound human-made ecological catastrophes in history. See website for instructions for submitting your poems by email. Previously published work accepted.
Curated by poet and adoptive parent Eileen R. Tabios, this site is a community for poets to share their experiences as birthparents, adoptive parents, or adoptees. Notable contributors include Jim Bennett, Nick Carbo, Jennifer Kwon Dobbs, Karen G. Johnston, and Carol Moldaw.
Resource and link exchange site for poet bloggers worldwide. Site also includes news about contests and calls for submissions. Good for emerging writers.
The final haunts of your favorite poets, with special attention to those buried in England. Search by name or region. Includes short biographies and links to classic poems.
Polyphony Lit is an Illinois-based nonprofit that publishes a high school literary magazine edited and written by high school students from around the globe. Since launching in 2005, they have given feedback to over 15,000 submissions from 68 countries. Polyphony sponsors the Claudia Ann Seaman Awards, a free writing contest with cash prizes for high school students.
Updated weekly, the literary humor site Pop Sonnets features popular song lyrics paraphrased as Shakespearean sonnets. Songs that come in for the highbrow treatment include LMFAO's "Sexy and I Know It", Lou Bega's "Mambo No. 5", the Village People's "YMCA", and 50 Cent's (a/k/a "Sir Fifty Pence") "In Da Club".
To support black civil rights activism in the summer of 2020, feminist literary publisher Kore Press is offering an online thematic presentation/installation of work from their 2018 anthology Letters to the Future: Black Women/Radical Writing, edited by Dawn Lundy Martin and Erica Hunt. New selections will be posted from July through November 2020, in various media (print-based text, audio clips, and visual art). The first theme is Legacy, which lays the ground for the arc of the series, followed by Horror, Activism, Joy, and Future. Contributors include Harryette Mullen, Sonia Sanchez, and Yona Harvey.