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 Karl Shapiro

As a sloop with a sweep of immaculate wing on her delicate spine
And a keel as steel as a root that holds in the sea as she leans,
Leaning and laughing, my warm-hearted beauty, you ride, you ride,...

By Naomi Shihab Nye

Letters swallow themselves in seconds.   
Notes friends tied to the doorknob,   
transparent scarlet paper, ...

By Amy Beeder

I see you shuffle up Washington Street
whenever I am driving much too fast:
you, chub & bug-eyed, jaw like a loaf...

By Kevin Young

Crashing
again—Basquiat
sends fenders ...

By Maya Angelou

A free bird leaps
on the back of the wind   
and floats downstream   ...

By Delmore Schwartz

Calmly we walk through this April’s day,   
Metropolitan poetry here and there,   
In the park sit pauper and rentier,   ...

By Yusef Komunyakaa

We tied branches to our helmets.
We painted our faces & rifles
with mud from a riverbank, ...

By W. D. Snodgrass

Up the reputable walks of old established trees
They stalk, children of the nouveaux riches; chimes
Of the tall Clock Tower drench their heads in blessing:   ...

By Carl Dennis

If on your grandmother's birthday you burn a candle   
To honor her memory, you might think of burning an extra   
To honor the memory of someone who never met her,   ...

By Rebecca Lindenberg

The mask that burns like a violin, the mask
that sings only dead languages, that loves
the destruction of being put on. The mask...

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