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"The truest and wisest things about human life can normally only be expressed in images"

                                                                                                                                                                Ladislaus Boros


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find a way that appeals to you

There are many ways of approaching poetry. To experience a wide variety of styles, schedule one of several excellent radio shows into your calendar. Listen to or download one each week. Buy in bookshops and online, or borrow from the library, poetry audiotapes or cds. Bookshops are full of books of poetry for special occasions and circumstances, as well as theme based and traditionally arranged anthologies. Most towns and cities, and some villages, have readings by contemporary poets in pubs and bars. Both the big umbrella organisations, such as The Poetry Society, and the increasing number of literary festivals have readings all the year round. Specialise in a period you like, or a poet, or group of poets. Take a single poem one at a time, and really familiarise yourself with it. Enlist the help of one of several excellent and accessible guides to the craft aspect of poetry. Visit websites dedicated to individual poets. Subscribe to sites that offer poems of the day, week or month. Join in your children's GCSE and A level English poetry modules.

books on the craft of poetry

B.Wormser and D. Capella. Teaching The Art of Poetry, The Moves. (LEA)

B.Wormser and D.Capella. A Surge of Language. Teaching Poetry Day by Day.( Heinemann)

Mary Oliver. Rules for the Dance. A Handbook For Writing and Reading Metrical Verse. (Mariner Books)

Mary Oliver. A Poetry Handbook. A Prose Guide to Understanding and Writing Poetry.(Harcourt Brace)

Tom Paulin. The Secret Life of Poems. A Poetry Primer.( Faber)

Robert Pinsky. The Sounds of Poetry, A Brief Guide. (FSG)

Mark Strand. The Making Of A Poem

Ruth Padel.The Poem and the Journey (And Sixty Poems to Read Along the Way)( Chatto & Windus/Random House)

John Hollander. Rhyme's Reason.

Alfred Corn. The Poem's Heartbeat.

John Thompson.The Founding of English Meter

Helen Vendler. Poems, Poets, Poetry


list of previous Poems of the Week

contact for more information

Adcock, Fleur  For a Five-Year-Old

Arnold, Matthew - Dover Beach

Auden, W.H. - As I Walked Out One Evening

Berry,Wendell - Sabbaths 2004.V111

Berry, Wendell - The Yellow-Throated Warbler

Bishop, Elizabeth - Electrical Storm

Blake, William - The Smile

Boland, Eavan - The Black Lace Fan My Mother Gave Me

Bradbury, Ray - Remembrance

Burnside, John - By Herodsfoot

Carlos Williams, William - Winter Trees

Cavafy, Constantine - Waiting for the Barbarians

Clampitt, Amy - A Catalpa Tree on W.12th Street

Clare, John - 'The thunder mutters louder and more loud'

Dickinson, Emily - Hope Is The Thing With Feathers

Duffy, Carol Ann- The Thames, London 2012

Frost, Robert - Mending Wall Hayden, Robert - Those Winter Sundays

Graham, Jorie - The Guardian Angel of the Private Life

Hardy, Thomas - During Wind and Rain

Heaney, Seamus - The Tollund Man

Herrick, Robert - Lovers, How They Come and Part

Hughes, Ted - The Thought-Fox

Kavanagh, Patrick - Canal Bank Walk

Kenyon, Jane - Let Evening Come

Lawrence, D. H. - Snake

Levi, Primo - To My Friends

Mechtild of Magdeburg -Of All That God Has Shown Me

Merwin, W.S. - To Impatience

Murray, Les - An Absolutely Ordinary Rainbow

Oliver, Mary - Such Singing In The Wild Branches

Plath, Sylvia - Tulips

Rich, Adrienne - Diving Into The Wreck

Robertson, Robin - Entropy

Shakespeare, William - from Act 111. scene 3. Henry V

Shakespeare, William - from Antony & Cleopatra, 'The barge she sat in...' (2.2.192-206)

Shakespeare, William - Blow, Blow, Thou Winter Wind

Sissay, Lemn - Spark Catchers

Stevens,Wallace - from Sunday Morning

Strand, Mark - The Idea

Tichborne, Chidiock - Tichborne's Elegy

Wagner, Erica - Picnic's Over

Walcott, Derek - R.T.S.L (1917-1977)

Yeats, William Butler - Easter 1916

Yeats, William Butler - What Then

Robert Frost. Dust of Snow

Denise Levertov. Swan in Falling Snow

Carmen Bugan. The Day We Decided We Would Lie

Hayden Carruth. Onandaga, Early December

Frank O'Hara. Having A Coke With You

Andrew Marvell. The Horatian Ode Upon Cromwell's Return From Ireland

William Eaves. Home

W.S. Merwin. Green Fields

Samuel Daniel. When Men Shall Find Thy Flower

Don Paterson. Waking With Russell

Michael Longley. Laertes

Stevie Smith. Away, Melancholy

Derek Mahon. Lapis Lazuli

Louise Bogan. To Be Sung On Water

William Wordsworth. Lines Written in Early Spring

Josephine Dickinson. My Lover Gave Me Green Leaves

Stevie Smith. The Airy Christ

A.R.Ammons. The City Limits

Robert Frost. Prayer in Spring

Emily Dickinson. Each Life Converges to Some Centre

Jorges Luis Borges. A Poet of the Thirteenth Century translated by William Ferguson

John Clare. I Hid My Love

Baron Wormser. Abandoned Asylum, Northampton, Massachusetts.

George Herbert. Mattens

William Wordsworth. from Lines Written A Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey

Richard Wilbur. For C

Philip Levine. He Would Never Use One Word Where None Would Do

Richard Wilbur .The Beautiful Changes

Anthony Hecht. A Hill

Percy Bysshe Shelley. Ode To A Skylark

Alice Oswald. A Greyhound In The Evening After A Long Day of Rain

Paul Laurence Dunbar. A Florida Night

Zbigniew Herbert. Report From Paradise

W.B.Yeats. The Cap And Bells

Emily Dickinson. As Imperceptibly As Grief

Baron Wormser. A Quiet Life

W.S.Merwin. To The Light of September

William Stafford. When I Met My Muse

Jorie Graham. To A Friend Going Blind

Henry Vaughan. Religion

Thomas Wyatt. Forget Not Yet. The Lover Beseecheth His Mistress Not To Forget His Steadfast Faith and True Intent

John Burnside. Prayer

Fulke Greville, Lord Brooke. In Night When Colours All To Black Are Cast

Louis MacNeice. Thalassa

David Morley. The Ideal

John Dryden. A Song For St Cecilia's Day 1687

W.S.Graham. Loch Thom

William Blake. A Poison Tree

Richard Wilbur. Advice To A Prophet

Mark Strand. Lines For Winter

Maya Angelou. A Poem for Christmas

Wendell Berry. The Wild Geese

Richard Eberhart. The Eclipse

Laura Sheck. Mysteriously Standing

Thomas Dekker. The Happy Heart

William Shakespeare. When That I Was And A Little Tiny Boy

Douglas Dunn. At Cruggleton Castle

Charles Wright. Confessions Of A Song And Dance Man

Sir Edward Dyer. A Modest Love

Brigit Pegeen Kelly. Song

William Dunbar. Lament For The Makaris

Les Murray. Easter 1984

Jean Valentine. Blessed Are Those...

A.R.Ammons. Eyesight

Geoffrey Chaucer. Whan That Aprille With His Shoures Sote

Thomas Traherne. from An Infant-Ey

Emily Dickinson. I Taste A Liquor Never Brewed

Sir Philip Sidney. Astrophel and Stella Sonnet V

George Herbert. Vertue

Louis MacNeice. Meeting Point

W.J.Duff. Old Man's Prayer

Rudyard Kipling. from The River's Song

John Donne. A Valediction Forbidding Mourning

Amy Clampitt. A Hermit Thrush

Wallace Stevens. A Sea Surface Full of Clouds

Emily Dickinson. A Something In A Summer's Day

R.S.Thomas. A Peasant

Edward Thomas. Beauty

Hal Summers. The Seed

Thomas Hardy. The Shadow On The Stone

Ogden Nash. Bankers Are Just Like Anybody Else Except Richer

Galway Kinnell. Blackberry Eating

Jorge Luis Borges. The Art of Poetry

Ben Jonson. Section From A Pindaric Ode (The Strophe or Turn)

Emily Dickinson. Of All The Souls That Stand Create

W.J. Duff. Death Of A Gardener

William Shakespeare. That Time Of Year Thou Mayst In Me Behold

Dylan Thomas. Foster The Light

T.S. Eliot. from Choruses from 'The Rock' Stanza X

Seamus Heaney. A Dream Of Solstice

e.e.cummings. A Christmas Poem

William Wordsworth. London 1802

Mahmoud Darwish. What Will Remain?

Baron Wormser. Labor

D.H.Lawrence. Nothing To Save

Philip Levine. Bitterness

Jen Hadfield. Thou Shall Want, Want, Want

William Carlos Williams. Ad Infinitum

Seamus Heaney. Sonnet V11 from The Glanmore Sonnets

John Donne. Batter My Heart

Charles Wright. Last Supper

R.S.Thomas. In A Country Church

Edwn Muir. Transfiguration

P.B.Shelley. The Question

U.A.Fanthorpe. The 8th May: How To Recognise It

Danny Abse. Things

Michael LaSorsaSteffen. Hope

John Hartley Williams. Hungarian

Richard Crashaw. An Epitaph Upon Husband And Wife

Gael Turnbull. These Rings that We Exchange

A.R.Ammons. Mansion

Robert Frost. The Oven Bird

W.B.Yeats. (from) Among School Children

Pablo Neruda. Every Day You Play With The Light Of The Universe

Li-Young Lee. the Gift

Robert Hayden. "Summertime And The Living...."

Norman MacCaig. Summer Farm

Robert Duncan. Often I Am Permitted To Return To A Meadow

Emily Dickinson. Heaven Is What I Cannot Reach

William Blake. Love's Secret

Denise Levertov. Sunday Afternoon

Tadeusz Rosewicz. In The Middle Of Life

Eavan Boland. Amber

Wendell Berry. I Go Among Trees And Sit Still

Sir Thomas Wyatt. Who So List To Hounte I Know Where Is An Hynde

Larry Levis. Winter Stars

Kathleen Raine. Spell To Bring Lost Creatures Home

Donald Hall. The Ox Cart Man

Gerard Manley Hopkins. Felix Randal

Yehuda Amichai. Memorial Day for The War Dead

Howard Nemerov. A Spell Before Winter

A.R.Ammons. In View Of The Fact

Rowan Williams. Advent Calendar

Judith Wright. Sonnet For Christmas

W.S.Merwin. For A Coming Extinction

Li-Young Lee. Nativity

Emily Dickinson. Hope Is A Strange Invention

George Mackay Brown. Epiphany Poem

Kevin Hart. Snow

William Shakespeare. Fear No More The Heat O' The Sun

Rafael Campo. Begging For Change In Winter

Adrie Kusserow. Skull Trees, Southern Sudan

Kay Ryan. Patience

William Stafford. An Afternoon In The Stacks

Emily Dickinson. The Sky is low - the Clouds are mean

Theodore Roethke. Cuttings (Late)

William Carlos Williams. Light Hearted William

Neil Aitken. Travelling Through The Prairies, I Think Of My Father's Voice by Neil Aitken

Robin Robertson. Strindberg In Berlin

Zbigniew Herbert. I Would Like To Describe

Judith Wright. Phaius Orchid

Thomas Traherne. A Serious And Pathetical Contemplation Of The Mercies Of God

Andrew Marvell. The Mower Against Gardens

Elizabeth Bishop. Anaphora

Shams Al-Din Hafiz. Returning translated by Coleman Barks

William Carlos Williams. Dedication For A Plot Of Ground

Philip Larkin. Cut Grass

John O'Donohue. Purgatorial

Philippe Jaccottet. Distances

Robinson Jeffers. Hurt Hawks

James Wright. To The Saguaro Cactus Tree In The Desert Rain

Li-Young Lee. Night Mirror

Robert Burns. Corn Rigs Are Bonnie

Gary Snyder. Milton By Firelight

Edwin Morgan. Strawberries

Anne Stevenson. In The Tunnel Of Summers

Ben Jonson. A Celebration Of Charis: IV. Her Triumph

G.M.Hopkins. Hurrahing In Harvest

A R Ammons. Still

Lawrence Sail. Out of Silence

Robert Bringhurst. The Finch

W.S.Merwin. Echoing Light

Wislawa Szymborska. The End And The Beginning

e e cummings love is a place

Don Paterson. Poetry

Yves Bonnefoy. Passer-By, These Are Words

Mahmoud Darwish. I Belong There

Edward Hirsch. Poor Angels

Anthony Hecht. The Transparent Man

Les Murray. Nursing Home

Joseph Langland.  Hunters In The Snow: Breughel

Patrick Kavanagh. Advent

George Mackay Brown. A Poem For Shelter

Frances Horowitz. New Year Snow

Michael McKimm. An Invitation

Tomas Transtromer. A Winter Night

Brigit Pegeen Kelly. Wild Turkeys: The Dignity Of The Damned

Mervyn Peake. The Consumptive:Belsen 1945

Denise Levertov. Celebration

W.H.Auden. Their Lonely Betters

Thomas McGrath. Against The False Magicians

Gillian Clarke. Neighbours

Elizabeth Jennings. Rembrandt's Late Self-Portraits

Thomas Hardy. The Going

William Shakespeare. Sonnet LXV

Wallace Stevens. Not Ideas About The Thing But The Thing Itself

Elizabeth Jennings. The Nature Of Prayer

R.S.Thomas. Tell Us

George Mackay Brown. The Harrowing Of Hell

John Clare. Summer

Elizabeth Jennings. For Edward Thomas

Alice Oswald. Yellow Iris

Isabella Augusta, Lady Gregory. Donal Og

Wendell Berry. The Mad Farmer, Flying The Flag Of Rough Branch, Secedes From The Union

Mark Strand. The Continuous Life

Stacie Cassarino. Summer Solstice

Chloe Morrish. Not That It's Loneliness

William Shakespeare. from As You Like It

W.S.Merwin. Turning

Michael Longley. Into Battle

Seamus Heaney. The Railway Children

Jessica Jopp. Why Poetry Cannot Be Skimmed

John Donne. The Good-Morrow

Marianne Moore. The Paper Nautilus

Kona Macphee. View From A Window

W.B.Yeats. The Second Coming

Richard Wilbur. The Writer

W.H.Auden. September 1, 1939

Sir Thomas Wyatt. Patience, Though I Have Not

Billy Collins. The Names

Sir John Davies. Orchestra or A Poem Of Dancing

Emily Dickinson. These Are The Days When Birds Come Back

Stanley Plumly. Naps

Anne Carson. No Port Now

Alice Oswald. from Memorial

Michael Longley. The Leveret

Deborah Digges. The House That Goes Dancing




Some volumes on the list are out of print, but are usually available second hand.

Read a review of THE BAREFOOT BOOK OF CLASSIC POEMS for children at the end of  this list.

ed.Hayden Carruth. The Voice That Is Great Within Us (Bantam, Doubleday, Dell)

Jack Prelutsky.Behold the Bold Umbrellaphant and Other Poems( Greenwillow Books)
ed.Lynn Strongin. The Sorrow Psalms. A Book of Twentieth century Elegy( Iowa)

ed. Carolyn Forche. Against Forgetting : Twentieth Century Poetry of Witness

Carol Ann Duffy. New and Collected Poems for Children (Faber)

ed. Robin Skelton. Poetry of the Thirties ( Penguin)

ed. Robin. Skelton. Poetry of the Forties (Penguin)

ed. Daniel Karlin. The Penguin Book of Victorian Verse (Penguin)

ed. David Wright.The Mid Century : English Poetry 1940-1960 (Penguin)

ed. R.K.R.Thornton. Poetry of the Nineties (Penguin)

ed. Valentine Cunningham. The Penguin Book of Spanish Civil War Verse (Penguin)

ed. Phyllis Levin. The Penguin Book of the Sonnet (Penguin)

ed.Harold Bloom. The Best Poems of the English Language (Harper Collins)

ed.Germaine Greer. Lines of Life. 101 Poems by 101 Women (Faber)

ed. Simon Armitage. Short And Sweet 101 very short poems (Faber)

ed. Christopher Reid. Sounds Good 101 Poems to be Heard (Faber)

ed.          . A Quark for Mister Mark. 101 Poems about Science ( Faber)

ed. Ted Hughes. By Heart. 101 Poems to Remember (Faber)

ed. Don Paterson. 101 Sonnets from Shakespeare to Heaney (Faber).

Louis Zukofsky. A Test of Poetry (Wesleyan/New England)

ed. Robert Nye. The Faber Book of Sonnets (Faber)

ed.Rees-Jones. Modern Women Poets (Bloodaxe)

ed.Tod Marshall. Range of Voices. A Collection of Contemporary Poets (EWUP)

G.B.Harrison. A Book of English Poetry (Penguin)

ed.Hass et al. American Poetry. The Twentieth Century. Vols 1,2

ed. Norman Ault. Elizabethan Lyrics (Faber)

Walter de la Mare. Behold, This Dreamer (Faber)

ed.J.D.McClatchy. The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Poetry

ed. J.M. Cohen The Rider Book of Mystical Verse (Rider)

ed. Huntington Cairns. The Limits of Art. Vols 1,2,3 (Princeton)

ed.BBC. The Nation's Favourite Poems (BBC)

ed.     Poems on the Underground

ed. Ivo Mosley. The Green Book of Poetry (Frontier Publishing)

ed. Paul Muldoon. the Faber Book of Contemporary Irish Poetry (Faber)

ed. Robert Bly. The Soul Is Here For Its Own Joy.Sacred Poems from Many Cultures (Ecco)

ed. Robert Penn Warren and Albert Erskine. Six Centuries of Great Poetry (Dell)

ed. Robert Bly. News of The Universe. Poems of Twofold Consciousness (Sierra Club Books )

ed. Czeslaw Milosz. A Book of Luminous Things (Harcourt Brace)

ed. Neil Astley. Staying Alive real poems for unreal times (Bloodaxe)

ed. Charles Williams. The New Book of English Verse (Victor Gollancz)

ed. Harmon. The Classic 100 Poems (Highbridge)

ed.Harmon. The Top 500 Poems (Columbia)

A Book of Narrative Verse (Oxford)

ed.Wyndham Lewis and Charles Lee. The Stuffed Owl: An Anthology of Bad Verse (Everyman)

ed. Richard Caddel and Peter Quartermain.Other. British and Irish Poetry since 1970 (Wesleyan/New England

ed. E.Phelps and G.Summerfield. Four Seasons (Oxford)

ed.Pinsky and Dietz. America's Favourite Poems (Norton)

ed. Hulse,Kennedy,Morley. The New Poetry (Bloodaxe)

ed. Bly, Hillman.Meade. The Rag and Bone Shop of the Heart Poems For Men (Harper Perennial)

Wendy Cope. The Funny Side.

ed.Lehman. Great American Prose Poems (Scribner)

ed. Edward Lucie-Smith. The Penguin Book of Elizabethan Verse (Penguin)

ed. Helen Garner. The Metaphysical Poets (Penguin)

ed. Ian Hamilton. Odes (Bloomsbury)

ed. Peter Washington. Love Poems (Everyman)

ed. Robert Pinsky and Maggie Dietz. Poems To Read (Norton)

ed. Michael Schmidt. The Harvill Book of Twentieth-Century Poetry in English (Harvill Press Editions)

ed. Jerome Rothenberg. Technicians of The Sacred A Range of Poetries from Africa, America, Asia, Europe & Oceania (California)

ed. Paul Matthews. With My Heart in my Mouth - A Poetry Anthology (Rudolf Steiner Press)

ed. Charles Causley. The Sun Dancing (Puffin)

ed. George Macbeth. The Penguin Book of Animal Verse (Penguin)

ed. Michael Chapman. The New Century of South African Verse (AD Donker Publishers)

ed. Rothenberg and Jois. Poems For The Millenium. The University of California Book of Modern & Postmodern Poetry

Volume One and Volume Two (California)

ed. David Impastato. Upholding Mystery An Anthology of Contemporary Christian Poetry (Oxford)

ed. R.S.Thomas. The Penguin Book of Religious Verse (Penguin)

ed. Walt Taylor. English Sonnets (Longman, Green and Co)

ed. W.H.Auden,J.Garrett The Poet's Tongue.

B. Moses. Poems of Childhood

M.Sweeney. Irish Poems

M.Stephen. Never Such Innocence

Ted Hughes and Seamus Heaney. The Rattle Bag

Ted Hughes and Seamus Heaney. The School Bag

The Blackwell Series. Poetry From .....

Methuen. Poems for Everyday

ed.    Light And Dust Anthology of Poetry


For children, THE BAREFOOT BOOK OF CLASSIC POEMS , compiled and illustrated by Jackie Morris, introduced by Carol Ann Duffy, would make an incomparable present. Children, god children, grandchildren? They will thank you, and treasure it, for years to come. Buy it for yourself as well - for when they come to stay the night. We never quite forget poems read to us when we are young .

More than 60 poets are represented by both classic works and by other less familiar ones that come as delightful surprises. Over 70 poems, skilfully integrated throughout within Jackie Morris’ beautiful full-page illustrations, are framed by Emily Dickinson’s "There is no frigate like a book" as the front end paper, and by Langston Hughes’  "Hold fast to dreams" as the back end paper, two choices that mirror the inspiration and direction of the anthology.

It is well-rounded and wide-ranging, not only in its choice of poets, but also in its themes, subjects and forms, in tone, and in the sensual pleasures it offers. The texts that face and follow one another on particular pages are always structured and arranged with intelligence and discernment. The signature poem could perhaps be said to be Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Music :

Let me go where'er I will
I hear a sky-born music still:
It sounds from all things old,
It sounds from all things young,
From all that's fair, from all that's foul,
Peals out a cheerful song.
It is not only in the rose,
It is not only in the bird,
Not only where the rainbow glows,
Nor in the song of woman heard,
But in the darkest, meanest things
There always, always something sings.
'T is not in the high stars alone,
Nor in the cups of budding flowers,
Nor in the redbreast's mellow tone,
Nor in the bow that smiles in showers,
But in the mud and scum of things
There always, always something sings.

Emerson’s poem is paired with Wordsworth’s indispensable My Heart Leaps Up:

My heart leaps up when I behold
     A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began;
So is it now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old,
Or let me die!
The Child is father of the Man,
And I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.

The contemporary American poet, Donald Revell, observes of Wordsworth’s short poem in a recent book of essays(*): “a good wish and one of the most guileless poems in the language. Never be embarrassed by purity; it goes far. Piety is simply a matter of life and death. Sole guarantor of good posterity: active innocence; the Child father, not the Father’s child. And whence does it arise? When the pure heart leaps its leap of faith into the eye...”

For Barefoot Books, the safeguarding and championing of the child’s heart and imagination are central to everything they produce. This anthology is no exception. It nurtures and celebrates mystery and fantasy without descending into the whimsical, fosters compassion and sympathy without straying into the political, and honours the perennial and traditional without neglecting the historical. It deserves to, and surely will, become a classic.


(*) Donald Revell. The Art of Attention. A Poet’s Eye. (Graywolf Press)




online collections

The Poem Tree. An Online Poetry Anthology

the poetry archive

SPIDERTANGLE : the_book-


audio and sound archives

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poetry international london

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the reader: not devoted specifically to poetry, but recommended by Anne Michaels, poet and novelist - 'What a wonderful magazine The Reader is! It is rare to find a magazine in which the love of literature is so evident', and by Seamus Heaney, "One of the best things to thump through the letter-box. Full of pithy., passionate and precise's a nonpareil gift to the rest of us". For more information, write to The Reader, 19 Abercrombie Square, Liverpool, L69 7ZG. Tel 0151 7942830 email: and visit www. the


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