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 Linda Bierds

A little candlewax on the thumbnail, liquid
at first, slipping, then stalled to an ice-hood.
Another layer, another, and the child lies back, ...

By Tess Gallagher

The sleep of this night deepens
because I have walked coatless from the house
carrying the white envelope. ...

By Marsha De La O

Not rain, but fine mist
falls from my lemon tree,
a balm of droplets in green shadow....

By David Bottoms

We have all seen them circling pastures,
have looked up from the mouth of a barn, a pine clearing,   
the fences of our own backyards, and have stood   ...

By Taylor Mali

A grand piano wrapped in quilted pads by movers, tied up
with canvas straps—like classical music’s birthday gift
to the criminally insane—is gently nudged without its legs...

By Ruby Robinson

There is an ash tree behind this house. You
can see it from our bedroom window.
If you stare at it for long enough, you’ll see...

By Russell Edson

After a series of indiscretions a man stumbled homeward, thinking, now that I am going down from my misbehavior I am to be forgiven, because how I acted was not the true self, which I am now returning to. And...

By Mark Jarman

Dear God, Our Heavenly Father, Gracious Lord,
Mother Love and Maker, Light Divine,
Atomic Fingertip, Cosmic Design, ...

By Marvin Bell

Of the sleeves, I remember their weight, like wet wool,
on my arms, and the empty ends which hung past my hands.
Of the body of the shirt, I remember the large buttons ...

By Tracy K. Smith

5pm on the nose. They open their mouths
And it rolls out: high, shrill and metallic.
First the boy, then his sister. Occasionally,...

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