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

Before the Birth of One of Her Children

By Anne Bradstreet

All things within this fading world hath end,   
Adversity doth still our joyes attend;
No ties so strong, no friends so dear and sweet,    . . .

Beginning

By James Wright

The moon drops one or two feathers into the field.   
The dark wheat listens.
Be still. . . .

Bells for John Whiteside’s Daughter

By John Crowe Ransom

There was such speed in her little body,   
And such lightness in her footfall,   
It is no wonder her brown study . . .

Bent to the Earth

By Blas Manuel De Luna

They had hit Ruben
with the high beams, had blinded
him so that the van . . .

Bereavement

By William Lisle Bowles

Whose was that gentle voice, that, whispering sweet,
      Promised methought long days of bliss sincere!
      Soothing it stole on my deluded ear, . . .

Big City Speech

By W. S. Di Piero

Use me
Abuse me
          Turn wheels of fire . . .

The Birth of John Henry

By Melvin B. Tolson

The night John Henry is born an ax
            of lightning splits the sky,
and a hammer of thunder pounds the earth, . . .

A Birthday

By Christina Rossetti

My heart is like a singing bird
                  Whose nest is in a water'd shoot;
My heart is like an apple-tree . . .

Black Boys Play the Classics

By Toi Derricotte

The most popular “act” in
Penn Station
is the three black kids in ratty . . .

A Black Man Talks of Reaping

By Arna Bontemps

I have sown beside all waters in my day.
I planted deep, within my heart the fear
that wind or fowl would take the grain away. . . .