Find Poems & Poets

ONLY poems listed here or in the current printed anthology are eligible for the 2016-2017 competition.

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By Patricia Smith

I was birthed restless and elsewhere
gut dragging and bulging with ball lightning, slush,...

By Mark Strand

In a field
I am the absence
of field....


By Maya Angelou

We were entwined in red rings   
Of blood and loneliness before   
The first snows fell ...

By Carl Phillips

by trees at its far ending,
as is the way in moral tales: ...

By Yusef Komunyakaa

        When deeds splay before us 
precious as gold & unused chances ...

By Robert Graves

Are you shaken, are you stirred
    By a whisper of love,
Spellbound to a word...

By Eleanor Ross Taylor

The fork lived with the knife
     and found it hard — for years
took nicks and scratches,...

By Gwendolyn Brooks

We are things of dry hours and the involuntary plan,
Grayed in, and gray. “Dream” makes a giddy sound, not strong
Like “rent,” “feeding a wife,” “satisfying a man.”...

By Carl Sandburg

In Abraham Lincoln’s city,
Where they remember his lawyer’s shingle,
The place where they brought him ...

By Samuel Taylor Coleridge

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran ...

What People are Saying

"I was surprised that I was able to select poems that are so out of my usual spoken word preference. The Poetry Out Loud website has hundreds of poems that I have never seen before, and the fact that I found 3 and was able to make it so far with them is amazing to me. I guess I learned that stepping outside of the box is okay!"
Annabelle Emuze
2015 IL POL Champion