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 Emily Dickinson

The Poets light but Lamps —
Themselves — go out —
The Wicks they stimulate...

By William Blake

I was angry with my friend; 
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe: ...

By Elizabeth Spires

From flowering gnarled trees
they come, weighing down
the branches, dropping ...

By Edward Hirsch

At this hour the soul floats weightlessly
through the city streets, speechless and invisible,
astonished by the smoky blend of grays and golds ...

By Ezra Pound

Your mind and you are our Sargasso Sea,
      London has swept about you this score years
And bright ships left you this or that in fee: ...

By Scott Cairns

Your petitions—though they continue to bear
just the one signature—have been duly recorded.
Your anxieties—despite their constant, ...

By Sherman Alexie

I am told by many of you that I must forgive and so I shall   
after an Indian woman puts her shoulder to the Grand Coulee Dam   
and topples it. I am told by many of you that I must forgive   ...

By Jorie Graham

Over a dock railing, I watch the minnows, thousands, swirl   
themselves, each a minuscule muscle, but also, without the   
way to create current, making of their unison (turning, re-...

By Robert Bly

Your head is still
restless, rolling
east and west. ...

By Agha Shahid Ali

Those intervals
between the day’s
five calls to prayer ...

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