25 Lines and Fewer

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ONLY poems listed here or in the current printed anthology are eligible for the 2014-2015 Poetry Out Loud competition. More information here.

Wet Casements

By John Ashbery

The concept is interesting: to see, as though reflected
In streaming windowpanes, the look of others through
Their own eyes. A digest of their correct impressions of . . .

[What horror to awake at night]

By Lorine Niedecker

What horror to awake at night
and in the dimness see the light.
               Time is white . . .

What It Does

By David Ferry

The sea bit,
As they said it would,
And the hill slid, . . .

What It Looks Like To Us and the Words We Use

By Ada Limón

All these great barns out here in the outskirts,
black creosote boards knee-deep in the bluegrass.
They look so beautifully abandoned, even in use. . . .

What Kind of Times Are These

By Adrienne Rich

There's a place between two stands of trees where the grass grows uphill
and the old revolutionary road breaks off into shadows
near a meeting-house abandoned by the persecuted . . .

What to Say Upon Being Asked to Be Friends

By Julian Talamantez Brolaski

Why speak of hate, when I do bleed for love?
Not hate, my love, but Love doth bite my tongue
Till I taste stuff that makes my rhyming rough . . .

When I Am Asked

By Lisel Mueller

When I am asked   
how I began writing poems,   
I talk about the indifference of nature.    . . .

When I have Fears That I May Cease to Be

By John Keats

When I have fears that I may cease to be
   Before my pen has gleaned my teeming brain,
Before high-pilèd books, in charactery, . . .

When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer

By Walt Whitman

When I heard the learn’d astronomer,
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,
When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them, . . .

When You Are Old

By William Butler Yeats

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look . . .