25 Lines and Fewer


ONLY poems listed here or in the current printed anthology are eligible for the current Poetry Out Loud competition. More information here.

History Lesson

By Natasha Trethewey

I am four in this photograph, standing   
on a wide strip of Mississippi beach,   
my hands on the flowered hips . . .

Holding Court

By Jacob Saenz

Today I became King
of the Court w/out a diamond-
encrusted crown thrust upon . . .

Holy Sonnets: Batter my heart, three-person'd God

By John Donne

Batter my heart, three-person'd God, for you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
That I may rise and stand, o'erthrow me, and bend . . .

Holy Sonnets: Death, be not proud

By John Donne

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow . . .

“Hope” is the thing with feathers - (314)

By Emily Dickinson

“Hope” is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words - . . .

How I Learned Bliss

By Oliver de la Paz

I spied everything. The North Dakota license,

the “Baby on Board” signs, dead raccoons, and deer carcasses. . . .

How many times these low feet staggered (238)

By Emily Dickinson

How many times these low feet staggered -
Only the soldered mouth can tell -
Try - can you stir the awful rivet - . . .

Hunger for Something

By Chase Twichell

Sometimes I long to be the woodpile,
cut-apart trees soon to be smoke,
or even the smoke itself, . . .

Hunger Moon

By Jane Cooper

The last full moon of February stalks the fields; barbed wire casts a shadow.
Rising slowly, a beam moved toward the west
stealthily changing position . . .


By David St. John

The way a tired Chippewa woman
Who’s lost a child gathers up black feathers,
Black quills & leaves . . .

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