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.

Dream Song 14

By John Berryman

Life, friends, is boring. We must not say so.   
After all, the sky flashes, the great sea yearns,   
we ourselves flash and yearn, . . .


By Siegfried Sassoon

Soldiers are citizens of death's grey land,
Drawing no dividend from time's to-morrows.   
In the great hour of destiny they stand, . . .

Driving toward the Lac Qui Parle River

By Robert Bly

I am driving; it is dusk; Minnesota.
The stubble field catches the last growth of sun.    . . .

Dyed Carnations

By Robyn Schiff

There’s blue, and then there’s blue.
A number, not a hue, this blue
is not the undertone of any one . . .

Eagle Plain

By Robert Francis

The American eagle is not aware he is
the American eagle. He is never tempted
to look modest. . . .

Early Affection

By George Moses Horton

I lov’d thee from the earliest dawn,
     When first I saw thy beauty’s ray,
And will, until life’s eve comes on, . . .

Early Elegy: Headmistress

By Claudia Emerson

The word itself: prim, retired, its artifact
her portrait above the fireplace, on her face
the boredom she abhorred, then perfected, . . .

Early Occult Memory Systems of the Lower Midwest

By B. H. Fairchild

In his fifth year the son, deep in the backseat   
of his father’s Ford and the mysterium
of time, holds time in memory with words, . . .

Eating Poetry

By Mark Strand

Ink runs from the corners of my mouth.
There is no happiness like mine.
I have been eating poetry. . . .

Eating Together

By Li-Young Lee

In the steamer is the trout   
seasoned with slivers of ginger,
two sprigs of green onion, and sesame oil.    . . .