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ONLY poems listed here or in the current printed anthology are eligible for the 2013-2014 Poetry Out Loud competition. More information here.

On Education

By Elizabeth Bentley

When infant Reason first exerts her sway,
And new-formed thoughts their earliest charms display;
Then let the growing race employ your care . . .

On the Existence of the Soul

By Pattiann Rogers

How confident I am it is there. Don’t I bring it,   
As if it were enclosed in a fine leather case,   
To particular places solely for its own sake?    . . .

On Inhabiting an Orange

By Josephine Miles

All our roads go nowhere.
Maps are curled
To keep the pavement definitely . . .

On the Lawn at the Villa

By Louis Simpson

On the lawn at the villa—
That’s the way to start, eh, reader?
We know where we stand—somewhere expensive— . . .

On Monsieur’s Departure

By Queen Elizabeth I

I grieve and dare not show my discontent,
I love and yet am forced to seem to hate,
I do, yet dare not say I ever meant, . . .

On Pickiness

By Rodney Jones

When the first mechanical picker had stripped the field,
It left such a copious white dross of disorderly wispiness
That my mother could not console herself to the waste . . .

On Quitting

By Edgar Albert Guest

How much grit do you think you’ve got?
Can you quit a thing that you like a lot?
You may talk of pluck; it’s an easy word, . . .

On Shakespeare. 1630

By John Milton

What needs my Shakespeare for his honoured bones,
The labor of an age in pilèd stones,
Or that his hallowed relics should be hid    . . .

On An Unsociable Family

By Elizabeth Hands

O what a strange parcel of creatures are we,
Scarce ever to quarrel, or even agree;
We all are alone, though at home altogether, . . .

On Virtue

By Phillis Wheatley

O thou bright jewel in my aim I strive
To comprehend thee. Thine own words declare
Wisdom is higher than a fool can reach. . . .