R. S. Gwynn  
Total pages
October 2014
Related Titles


A perfect alternative to massive poetry anthologies, this brief, affordable collection of over 250 poems provides a concise yet comprehensive introduction to the study of poetry. Poetry: A Pocket Anthology offers the work of widely admired poets ranging from Shakespeare and Spenser to Jean Toomer and Rita Dove, as well as emerging writers like 21st-century “soldier-poet” Brian Turner.


  • Brief and affordable! This pocket-sized anthology allows instructors and students to focus on the poems, with a minimum of pedagogical apparatus–at a cost well under that of traditional anthologies.
  • Chronologically organized, the selections represent the full range of poetic tradition from popular ballads to contemporary work.
  • Diversity and flexibility are reflected in the selections by women and writers of color–representing over a third of the book–and by the inclusion of virtually every traditional poetic form used in English-language poetry.   
  • An Introduction to Poetry discusses the origins of the genre, its literary elements, and key terms, and Writing about Poetry offers instruction for writing essays, including sample student papers, as well as coverage of MLA citations.
  • An Index of Critical Terms provides a cross-referenced list of terms covered in the text.

New to this Edition

  • Compelling new selections from masters of the genre, ranging from John Keats to e.e. cummings, Langston Hughes, and Elizabeth Bishop, offer fresh models from classic writers.
  • Authors new to this collection, including Amy Gerstler (named by the Los Angeles Times as “one of the best poets in the nation”), and award winners Rebecca Foust and Craig Arnold, provide ample evidence that poetry continues to flourish in today’s world.
  • .Young writers Ernest Hilbert and Erica Dawson bring poetry into the 21st century and provide inspiration for aspiring young poets.
  • And as always, Poetry: A Pocket Anthology offers a comprehensive collection at an affordable price and an appealing length.

Table of Contents


An Anecdote: Where Poetry Starts 

Speaker, Listener, and Context 

The Star-Spangled Banner

Lyric, Narrative, Dramatic 

The Language of Poetry 

Figurative Language 

Allegory and Symbol 

Tone of Voice 

Repetition: Sounds and Schemes 

Meter and Rhythm 

Free Verse, Open Form and Closed Forms

Stanza Forms 

Fixed Forms 

Literary History, Poetic Conventions, and Theory


Writing about Poetry





   Western Wind

   Bonny Barbara Allan

   Sir Patrick Spens

Sir Thomas Wyatt (1503?-1542)

   They Flee from Me 

   Whoso List to Hunt

Edmund Spenser (1552-1599)

   Amoretti: Sonnet 75

Sir Philip Sidney (1554-1586)

   Astrophel and Stella: Sonnet 1

Robert Southwell (1561?-1595)

   The Burning Babe

Michael Drayton (1563-1631)

   Idea: Sonnet 61

William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

   Sonnet 18

   Sonnet 20

   Sonnet 29

   Sonnet 73

   Sonnet 116

   Sonnet 129

   Sonnet 130

   When Daisies Pied (Spring and Winter)

Thomas Campion (1567-1620)

   There Is a Garden in Her Face

John Donne (1572-1631)

   The Flea

   Holy Sonnet 10

   Holy Sonnet 14

   The Sun Rising

   A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning

Ben Jonson (1573-1637)

   On My First Son

   Slow, Slow, Fresh Fount

Mary Wroth (1587?-1651?)

   In This Strange Labyrinth How Shall I Turn

Robert Herrick (1591-1674)

   To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time

George Herbert (1593-1633)

   Easter Wings

   The Pulley


Edmund Waller (1606-1687)


John Milton (1608-1674)

   How Soon Hath Time

   On the Late Massacre in Piedmont

   When I Consider How My Light Is Spent

Anne Bradstreet (1612-1672)

   The Author to Her Book

Richard Lovelace (1618-1658)

   To Lucasta, Going to the Wars

Andrew Marvell (1621-1678)

   To His Coy Mistress

John Dryden (1631-1700)

   To the Memory of Mr. Oldham

Jonathan Swift (1667-1745)

   A Description of a City Shower

Alexander Pope (1688-1744)

   from An Essay on Criticism

   Ode on Solitude

Thomas Gray (1716-1771)

   Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard

William Blake (1757-1827)

   The Chimney Sweeper

   The Little Black Boy

   A Poison Tree

   The Tyger

Robert Burns (1759-1796)

   A Red, Red Rose

   John Barleycorn

William Wordsworth (1770-1850)

   I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud

   It Is a Beauteous Evening

   Nuns Fret Not at Their Convent's Narrow Room

   Ode: Intimations of Immortality

Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834)

   Frost at Midnight

   Kubla Khan

   Work Without Hope

George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824)

   She Walks in Beauty


   When We Two Parted

Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)

   Ode to the West Wind


John Keats (1795-1821)

* Bright Star, Would I Were Stedfast as Thou Art

   La Belle Dame sans Merci

   Ode to a Nightingale

   On First Looking into Chapman's Homer

Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861)

   Sonnets from the Portuguese, 18

   Sonnets from the Portuguese, 43

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)

   The Arsenal at Springfield

   The Cross of Snow

Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849)

  The Haunted Palace

    The Raven

    Sonnet: To Science

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)

   The Eagle

   The Lady of Shalott

   Tears, Idle Tears


Robert Browning (1812-1889)

   My Last Duchess

   Porphyria's Lover

Walt Whitman (1819-1892)

   A Noiseless Patient Spider

   O Captain, My Captain

  A Sight in Camp in the Daybreak Grey and Dim

  Song of Myself, 1

   Song of Myself, 5

  Song of Myself, 6

  Song of Myself, 11

  Song of Myself, 21

  Song of Myself, 32

  Song of Myself, 52

  When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer

Matthew Arnold (1822-1888)

   Dover Beach

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

  After Great Pain a Formal Feeling Comes

Because I Could Not Stop for Death

  The Brain Is Wider than the Sky

   I Felt a Funeral, in My Brain 

   Much Madness is Divinest Sense

   A Narrow Fellow in the Grass

   Some Keep the Sabbath Going to Church

   The Soul Selects Her Own Society

   Tell All the Truth, But Tell It Slant

   There’s a Certain Slant of Light

   Wild Nights--Wild Nights

Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)


Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)

   Ah, Are You Digging on My Grave?

   Channel Firing

   Neutral Tones

   The Ruined Maid

Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)

   God's Grandeur

   Pied Beauty

   Spring and Fall: To a Young Child 

Emma Lazarus (1849-1887)

   The New Colossus

A. E. Housman (1859-1936)

   Eight O'Clock

   Loveliest of Trees, the Cherry Now

   Stars, I Have Seen Them Fall

   “Terence, This Is Stupid Stuff . . .”

William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)

   The Lake Isle of Innisfree

   Leda and the Swan

   Sailing to Byzantium

   The Second Coming

   The Song of Wandering Aengus

Edwin Arlington Robinson (1869-1935)


   The Mill

   Richard Cory

Stephen Crane (1871-1900)

   The Trees in the Garden Rained Flowers

   The Wayfarer

Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906)

   We Wear the Mask

Robert Frost (1874-1963)

   Acquainted with the Night

   After Apple-Picking


   Home Burial

   The Need of Being Versed in Country Things

   The Road Not Taken

   Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Adelaide Crapsey (1878-1034)


   Languor after Pain


Wallace Stevens (1879-1955)

   Anecdote of the Jar

   Disillusionment of Ten O'Clock

   The Emperor of Ice-Cream

   The Snow Man

   Sunday Morning

   The Worms at Heavens Gate

William Carlos Williams (1883-1963)

   The Last Words of My English Grandmother

   The Red Wheelbarrow

   Spring and All

Ezra Pound (1885-1972)

   In a Station of the Metro

   Portrait d'une Femme

   The River-Merchant's Wife: A Letter

Elinor Wylie (1885-1928)

   Let No Charitable Hope


H. D. (Hilda Doolittle) (1886-1961)

   Pear Tree

   Sea Rose

Siegfried Sassoon (1886-1967)


Robinson Jeffers (1887-1962)

   The Purse-Seine

Marianne Moore (1887-1972)

   The Fish


T. S. Eliot (1888-1965)

   Journey of the Magi

   The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock


Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950)

   If I Should Learn, in Some Quite Casual Way

   Oh, Oh, You Will Be Sorry for that Word

   What Lips My Lips Have Kissed, and Where, and Why

Wilfred Owen (1893-1918)

   Dulce et Decorum Est

e. e. cummings (1894-1962)

   pity this busy monster,manunkind

   plato told


   *  somewhere I have never travelled, gladly beyond

Jean Toomer (1894-1967)

   Georgia Dusk

Louise Bogan (1897-1970)


Langston Hughes (1902-1967)

   Dream Boogie

   * Harlem Sweeties

   The Weary Blues

Stevie Smith (1902-1971)

  Our Bog Is Dood

Countee Cullen (1903-1946)


   Yet Do I Marvel

W. H. Auden (1907-1973)

   As I Walked Out One Evening

   Musée des Beaux Arts

   The Unknown Citizen

Theodore Roethke (1908-1963)


   My Papa's Waltz

   Root Cellar

Elizabeth Bishop (1911-1979)

   The Fish

  One Art

   * The Shampoo

Robert Hayden (1913-1980)

   Those Winter Sundays 

Dudley Randall (1914-2000)

   Ballad of Birmingham

William Stafford (1914-1993)

   Traveling through the Dark

Dylan Thomas (1914-1953)

   Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night

   Poem in October

Weldon Kees (1914-1955)

   For My Daughter

Margaret Walker (1915-1998)

   For Malcolm X

Gwendolyn Brooks (1917-2000)

   the ballad of chocolate Mabbie

   the mother

   We Real Cool

Lawrence Ferlinghetti (b. 1919)

   A Coney Island of the Mind, #15

May Swenson (1919-1989)

   How Everything Happens

Howard Nemerov (1920-1991)

   A Primer of the Daily Round

Richard Wilbur (b. 1921)


   * For C

   The Writer

   Year's End

Philip Larkin (1922-1985)

   Next, Please

   This Be the Verse

  The Whitsun Weddings

James Dickey (1923-1997)

   The Heaven of Animals

Alan Dugan (1923-2003)

   Love Song: I and Thou

Anthony Hecht (b. 1923)

  The Dover Bitch

   Third Avenue in Sunlight

Daniel Hoffman (b. 1923)

   As I Was Going to Saint-Ives

Louis Simpson (b. 1923)

   American Classic

   My Father in the Night Commanding No

Vassar Miller (1924-1997)


Donald Justice (b. 1925)

   Counting the Mad

Carolyn Kizer (b. 1925)

   The Ungrateful Garden

  Pro Femina: Part Three 

Maxine Kumin (b. 1925)

   Noted in the New York Times

Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997)

   A Supermarket in California

James Merrill (1926-1995)

   Casual Wear

Frank O'Hara (1926-1966)

   The Day Lady Died

W. D. Snodgrass (1926-2009)

   Mementos, I

John Ashbery (b. 1927)

   Farm Implements and Rutabagas in a Landscape

   Paradoxes and Oxymorons

W. S. Merwin (b. 1927)

   For the Anniversary of My Death

   The Last One

James Wright (1927-1980)

   Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio

   Saint Judas

Philip Levine (b. 1928)

   You Can Have It

Anne Sexton (1928-1974)


Thom Gunn (b. 1929)

   From the Wave


X. J. Kennedy (b. 1929)

   In a Prominent Bar in Secaucus One Day

   Little Elegy

Adrienne Rich (b. 1929)

   Aunt Jennifer's Tigers

   Diving into the Wreck


Ted Hughes (b. 1930-1998)


Gary Snyder (b. 1930)

   A Walk

Miller Williams (b. 1930)

   The Book

Linda Pastan (b. 1932)


Sylvia Plath (1932-1963)




Gerald Barrax (b. 1933)

   Strangers like Us: Pittsburgh, Raleigh, 1945-1985

Mark Strand (b. 1934)

   The Tunnel

Lewis Turco (b. 1934)

  The Premonition

Russel Edson (b. 1935)


Mary Oliver (b. 1935)

   The Black Walnut Tree

   Honey at the Table

Fred Chappell (b. 1936)

   Narcissus and Echo

Lucille Clifton (1936-2010)

   homage to my hips

   wishes for sons

Marge Piercy (b. 1936)

   What’s That Smell in the Kitchen!

Betty Adcock (b. 1938)


Robert Phillips (b. 1938)

   The Stone Crab: A Love Poem

Dabney Stuart (b. 1938)

   Discovering My Daughter

Margaret Atwood (b. 1939)

   Siren Song

Stephen Dunn (b. 1939)

   The Sacred

Seamus Heaney (b. 1939)



Ted Kooser (b. 19390

  Abandoned Farmhouse

Tom Disch (b. 1940)

   Ballade of the New God

Florence Cassen Mayers (b. 1940)

   All American Sestina

Pattiann Rogers (b. 1940)


Billy Collins (b. 1941)


   Paradelle for Susan 

Robert Hass (b. 1941)

  Meditation at Lagunitas

Simon J. Ortiz (b. 1941)

   The Serenity in Stones

Gibbons Ruark (b. 1941)

   The Visitor

Gladys Cardiff (b. 1942)


B.H. Fairchild (b. 1942)

   Body and Soul

Charles Martin (b. 1942)


Sharon Olds (b. 1942)

   The One Girl at the Boys Party

Henry Taylor (b. 1942)

   From Brief Candles

Diane Lockward (b. 1943)

   My Husband Discovers Poetry

Ellen Bryant Voight (b. 1943)


Robert Morgan (b. 1944)

   Mountain Bride

Craig Raine (b. 1944)

   A Martian Sends a Postcard Home

Enid Shomer (b. 1944)

   Women Bathing at Bergen Belsen

Wendy Cope (b. 1944)

   Rondeau Redoublé

Dick Davis (b. 1945)

   A Monorhyme for the Shower

Kay Ryan (b. 1945)


Leon Stokesbury (b. 1945)

   The Day Kennedy Died

John Whitworth (b. 1945)

   The Examiners

Marilyn Nelson (b. 1946)

   The Ballad of Aunt Geneva

Ai (1947-2010)

   Child Beater

Jim Hall (b. 1947)

   Maybe Dats Your Pwoblem Too

Yusef Komunyakaa (b. 1947)

   Facing It

R.S. Gwynn (b. 1948)

   Approaching a Significant Birthday, He Peruses an Anthology of Poetry

Timothy Steele (b. 1948)

   Sapphics Against Anger

James Fenton (b. 1949)

   God, a Poem

Sarah Cortez (b. 1950)

   Tu Negrito

Carolyn Forché (b. 1950)

   The Colonel

Dana Gioia (b. 1950)

   Planting a Sequoia

Rodney Jones (b. 1950)

   Winter Retreat: Homage to Martin Luther King, Jr.

Timothy Murphy (b. 1950)

   Case Notes

Joy Harjo (b. 1951)

   She Had Some Horses

Andrew Hudgins (b. 1951)

   Air View of an Industrial Scene

Robert Wrigley (b. 1951)

   Thatcher Bitchboy

Judith Ortiz Cofer (b. 1952)

   The Latin Deli: An Ars Poetica

Rita Dove (b. 1952)

    American Smooth

Mark Jarman (b. 1952)

   After Disappointment

Julie Kane (b. 19520

   Alan Doll Rap

Naomi Shihab Nye (b. 1952)

   The Traveling Onion

Alberto Ríos (b. 1952)

   The Purpose of Altar Boys

Julia Alvarez (b. 1953)

   Bilingual Sestina

Harryette Mullen (b. 1953)

   Dim Lady

Kim Addonizio (b. 1954)

   Sonnenizio on a Line by Millay

David Mason (b. 1954)

  Fog Horns

Mary Jo Salter (b. 1954)

   Welcome to Hiroshima

Cathy Song (b. 1955)

   Stamp Collecting

Ginger Andrews (b. 1956)

   Primping in the Rearview Mirror

Annie Finch (b. 1956)

   Coy Mistress

Amy Gerstler (B. 1956)

   Advice from a Caterpillar

* Rebecca Faust (B. 1957)

   Family Story

April Lindner (b. 1962)

   First Kiss

Catherine Tufariello (b. 1963)

   Useful Advice

Sherman Alexie (b. 1966)

   The Exaggeration of Despair

Natasha Trethewey (b. 1966)

   Domestic Work, 1937

* Craig Arnold (1967-2009)

    The Singers

Allison Joseph (b. 1967)

   The Athlete

Brian Turner (b. 1967)

   Here. Bullet

Suji Kwock Kim (b. 1968)


A. E. Stallings (b. 1968)

  First Love: A Quiz

Joshua Mehigan (b. 1969)


* Ernest Hilbert (B. 1970)

    Domestic Situation

Sophie Hannah (b. 1971)

   The Guest Speaker

Emily Moore (b. 1977)

   Auld Lang Syne

* Erica Dawson (B. 1979)

    Somewhere Between Columbus and Cincinnati


Appendix: Stanza, Fixed, and Nonce Forms




Index of Critical Terms


Index of Authors, Titles, and First Lines of Poems


Additional Titles of Interest





R. S. Gwynn has edited several other books, including Drama: A Pocket Anthology; Literature: A Pocket Anthology; Literature: A Pocket Anthology; Inside Literature: Reading, Responding, Writing (with Steven Zani); The Art of the Short Story (with Dana Gioia); and Contemporary American Poetry: A Pocket Anthology (with April Lindner).  He has also authored five collections of poetry, including No Word of Farewell: Selected Poems, 1970-2000. He has been awarded the Michael Braude Award for verse from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.  Gwynn is University Professor of English and Poet-in-Residence at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas.