Poetry

Trying to define poetry is almost a crime. One of its enduring appeals is that it defies definition, overturns convention, and reinvents words themselves to create meaning out of chaos. Ironically, the best poetry also exemplifies convention, submitting to forms and styles to evoke whatever it is poetry is supposed to evoke.

Pascal spoke of "reasons of which the reason knows nothing," and while he was describing his Christian faith, the statement almost perfectly describes good poetry. Bad poetry is just the opposite: it tells the reader too much, it's ungainly and unmusical, it broods in the corner or waves its arms around for attention. Good poetry communicates directly with the soul, whether or not the mind comprehends.

That's not to say poetry should be meaningless. A lot of contemporary "poets" string words together and call it art, but it's really just pretension, or (worse) obscenity. Some have gone so far as to write anti-poetry, a form specifically devoted to creating "poems" that are inherently unpoetic. None of this is poetry—call it self-aggrandizement, pseudo-intellectualism, or just dumb, if it doesn't look, sound or act like a poem, it probably isn't.

On the other hand, not all poems should look or sound the same. Opponents of free verse need to understand that the language grows and changes, and that free form poems don't abandon, they just reinterpret rhythm and cadence....just as free verse practitioners need to recognize the beauty and requisite skill displayed in more structured forms like sonnets and villanelles.

Typically, a poem uses the natural rhythms of language to conjure meaningful images for the reader. While poets in every age have been attracted to its form as a tool for intellectual or philosophical rhetoric, a truly great poem is one that imparts to individuals an attitude, emotion or idea without seeming to do so. More than writers in any other genre, poets must interest their audience if they're to impact them.

This isn't to suggest a poem means whatever any reader wants it to mean, or that it should merely delight. Far from it: without a definite (or at least, apprehendable) idea in mind, the poet ends up communicating nothing, just as he does if he simply intends to entertain.

What it does mean is that a poem should be universal to the extent that anyone can read it and get something out of it. Obviously, identifiying and understanding allusions, analogies and metaphors will heighten understanding (and enjoyment), but if an initial encounter ends void, the poet has failed to do what he or she set out to do.

Many of the world's greatest writers have been poets. The opportunity for a clever or brilliant turn of phrase in a poem is much higher than in a novel or treatise; poets often sweat for days over a single word, intent on using the language to its absolute potential. This is the paradox of poetry—even in its most primordial form, whispering to our deepest selves, poetry-making requires an active and agile mind.

But don't come to any poem primarily to learn in a cognitive sense; come first to enjoy, and then to learn what it means to love, to be human, to value and respect beauty, even to fear and mourn. Any novel can tell you how other people think, but few of them can unite all readers the way a poem can, to tear down barriers and speak where language is only a vague notion, and words are much more than their definitions.

Introduction by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he's a husband and father who loves church, good food, and weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.
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522 Items found Print
100 Best-Loved Poems
Dover Thrift Editions
by Philip Smith
from Dover Publications
Poetry for 10th-Adult
in Poetry Anthologies (Location: POET-ANTH)
$4.00 $2.50 (1 in stock)
101 Great American Poems
Dover Thrift Editions
by Paul Negri
from Dover Publications
Poetry for 10th-Adult
in Poetry Anthologies (Location: POET-ANTH)
$4.00 $2.50 (1 in stock)
A Child's Garden of Verses
by Robert Louis Stevenson, illustrated by Gyo Fujikawa
from Sterling Publishing Co.
for 2nd-5th grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
Acts of Light
by Emily Dickinson, illustrated by Nancy Ekholm Burkert, appreciation by Jane Langton
Third Printing from Little, Brown & Company
for 4th-Adult
in Poetry (Location: POET-GEN)
$5.00 (1 in stock)
Alfred, Lord Tennyson
by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
from Sweetwater Press
for 9th-Adult
in Poetry (Location: POET-GEN)
All the Small Poems and Fourteen More
by Valerie Worth
from Sunburst Book
Lyrical Poetry for Preschool-4th grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
$9.99 $5.00 (5 in stock)
All the World's a Stage
by Rebecca Piatt Davidson, illustrated by Anita Lobel
from Greenwillow Books
for Preschool-2nd grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
$8.00 (1 in stock)
Amazing Peace
by Maya Angelou, illustrated by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher
from Schwartz & Wade
for Preschool-3rd grade
in Christmas & Advent (Location: HOLIDAY)
American History in Verse
by Burton Stevenson
from Bob Jones University Press
Poetry for 3rd-Adult
in American History Reference (Location: HISA-REF)
$11.00
American Poetry
by David S. Shields
from Library of America
for 11th-Adult
in Poetry Anthologies (Location: POET-ANTH)
$20.00 (1 in stock)
American Poetry
by Gay Wilson Allen, Walter B. Rideout, James K. Robinson
from Harper & Row
for 10th-Adult
in Vintage Poetry (Location: VIN-POET)
$5.00 (1 in stock)
Anchor Book of Chinese Poetry
by Tony Barnstone & Chou Ping, eds.
from Anchor Books
for 9th-12th grade
in Poetry Anthologies (Location: POET-ANTH)
$17.00 $9.00 (1 in stock)
Anna's Garden Songs
by Lena Anderson
from Scholastic Reference
for Kindergarten-3rd grade
in Picture Books (Location: PICTURE)
Anne's Anthology
by Margie Gray
from Cadron Creek Christian Curriculum
Poetry for 7th-10th grade
in Cadron Creek Literature Guides (Location: LITCUR-CAD)
Annotated Hunting of the Snark
by Lewis Carroll
from W. W. Norton and Co.
for 8th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
Annotated Milton
by John Milton
from Bantam Books
for 11th-Adult
in 17th Century Literature (Location: LIT4-17)
$8.95
Annotated Mother Goose
by William S. Baring-Gould & Ceil Baring-Gould
from Bramhall House
for 10th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
$9.00 (2 in stock)
Another Book of Verses for Children
by E.V. Lucas (editor), illustrated by F.D. Bedford
from Macmillan
for 1st-5th grade
in Vintage Poetry (Location: VIN-POET)
$26.00 (1 in stock)
Arnold Lobel Book of Mother Goose
by Arnold Lobel
from Random House
for Preschool-3rd grade
in Mother Goose & Nursery Rhymes (Location: PIC-MG)
$12.00 (1 in stock)
Arroz Con Leche
by Lulu Delacre
Bilingual from Scholastic Inc.
for Preschool-2nd grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
Babes and Cradles
by Maud Wolcott Spalding, illustrated by Lucile Patterson Marsh & Anita Parkhurst
from Southern Publishing Association
for Preschool-2nd grade
in Vintage Picture Books (Location: VIN-PIC)
$8.80 (1 in stock)
Beastly Boys and Ghastly Girls
by William Cole, illustrated by Tomi Ungerer
for 2nd-6th grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
by Fred Rogers, illustrated by Luke Flowers
from Quirk Books
for Preschool-3rd grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
$10.00 (1 in stock)
Beauty of the Beast
by Jack Prelutsky, illustrated by Meilo So
from Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.
for Kindergarten-6th grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
$6.00 (1 in stock)
Best Loved Poems of the American People
by Hazel Felleman (editor)
from Doubleday & Company
for 9th-Adult
in Vintage Poetry (Location: VIN-POET)
$8.00 (1 in stock)
Best-Loved Poems of James Whitcomb Riley
by James Whitcomb Riley
from Grosset & Dunlap
in Poetry (Location: POET-GEN)
Best-Loved Verse
by Illustrated by Margaret Tarrant
from Gallery Books
Realistic Fiction for Kindergarten-3rd grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
Big Ball of String
by Marion Holland
from Random House Books for Young Readers
for Preschool- 3rd Grade
in Beginner Books (Location: EAR-BB)
Bilbo's Last Song
by J. R. R. Tolkien
from Riverwood Publishers
for Preschool-3rd grade
in Lord of the Rings (Location: LIR-LOTR)
Bilbo's Last Song
by J.R.R. Tolkien, Illustrated by Pauline Baynes
from Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.
for 3rd-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
$16.99
Birds, Beasts and the Third Thing
by D. H. Lawrence; illustrated by Alice and Martin Provensen
from Viking Press
for Kindergarten-6th grade
in Picture Books (Location: PICTURE)
Blue Birds
by Caroline Starr Rose
Dgs from Puffin Books
Narrative Poetry / Novel-In-Verse for 4th-7th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
$10.99
Book of Americans
by Rosemary and Stephen Vincent Benet, illustrated by Charles Child
from Farrar & Rinehart
for 3rd-6th grade
in Vintage Poetry (Location: VIN-POET)
$8.00 (1 in stock)
Book of Pigericks
by Arnold Lobel
First Ediition from Harper & Row
for Preschool-2nd grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
$5.00 (1 in stock)
Book of Verses for Children
by E. V. Lucas
1st THUS from Popular Culture Ink
for Preschool-4th grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
$5.00 (1 in stock)
Booked
Crossover #2
by Kwame Alexander
from HMH Books for Young Readers
for 5th-7th grade
in Realistic Fiction (Location: FIC-REA)
$5.00 (1 in stock)
BOX: Henry Brown Mails Himself to Freedom
by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Michele Wood
from Candlewick Press
for 4th-6th grade
2021 Newbery Honor Book
in Biographies (Location: BIO)
$17.99
Brother Sun, Sister Moon
by Katherine Paterson, Saint Francis of Assisi; illustrated by Pamela Dalton
from Chronicle Books
for Nursery-1st grade
in Picture Books (Location: PICTURE)
Brown Girl Dreaming
by Jacqueline Woodson
from Puffin Books
for 4th-8th grade
2015 Newbery Honor Book, Coretta Scott King Award, National Book Award
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
$10.99
Brownings: Letters and Poetry
by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Robert Browning
from International Collectors Library
for 9th-12th grade
in Poetry (Location: POET-GEN)
C. S. Lewis: The Poetry & Fiction Collection
by C. S. Lewis
for 10th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
$111.92
Canterbury Quintet
by Geoffrey Chaucer
from Little Leaf Press
for 10th-Adult
in Medieval Literature (Location: LIT2-MED)
$10.00 (1 in stock)
Canterbury Tales
Penguin Classics
by Geoffrey Chaucer (edited by Nevill Coghill)
from Penguin Classics
Medieval Poetry for 8th-12th grade
in Medieval Literature (Location: LIT2-MED)
$11.00
Canterbury Tales
by Geoffrey Chaucer (edited by Kolve V.A. & Glending Olson)
2nd edition from W. W. Norton and Co.
for 10th-Adult
in Medieval Literature (Location: LIT2-MED)
$14.00 (1 in stock)
Canterbury Tales
by Geoffrey Chaucer (edited by Peter Beidler)
from Bantam Books
for 10th-Adult
in Medieval Literature (Location: LIT2-MED)
$5.99
Canterbury Tales
by Geoffrey Chaucer, translated by David Wright
from Oxford University
for 9th-Adult
in Medieval Literature (Location: LIT2-MED)
$8.95
Canterbury Tales
by Geoffrey Chaucer (edited by Donald Howard)
from Signet Classics
for 10th-Adult
in Medieval Literature (Location: LIT2-MED)
$6.95
Carver: A Life in Poems
by Marilyn Nelson
from Boyds Mill Press
for 7th-11th grade
2002 Newbery Honor Book, Coretta Scott King Honor Award
in Biographies (Location: BIO)
$16.95
Casey at the Bat
by Ernest L. Thayer & Patricia Polacco
from Putnam Juvenile
for 1st-3rd grade
in Picture Books (Location: PICTURE)
$6.99
Casey at the Bat
by Ernest L. Thayer & Christopher Bing
1st edition from Chronicle Books
for 2nd-6th grade
2001 Caldecott Honor Book
in Oversized Picture Books (Location: PIC-OVER)
$19.99
Casey at the Bat
by Ernest L. Thayer & Patricia Polacco
from Scholastic Inc.
for 1st-3rd grade
in Picture Books (Location: PICTURE)
$2.00 (1 in stock)
Charge of the Light Brigade & Other Poems
Dover Thrift Editions
by Alfred Tennyson
from Dover Publications
for 9th-Adult
in Poetry (Location: POET-GEN)
$4.00
Chicago Poems
by Carl Sandburg
from Dover Publications
for 9th-Adult
in Poetry (Location: POET-GEN)
$1.50 (1 in stock)
Child's Anthology of Poetry
by Elizabeth Hauge Sword
from Ecco Press
for 4th-6th grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
Child's Anthology of Poetry
by Elizabeth Hauge Sword
for 1st-6th grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
$7.00 (1 in stock)
Child's Book of Poems
by Gyo Fujikawa
from Grosset & Dunlap
for Kindergarten-3rd grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
Child's Book of Poems
by Gyo Fujikawa
from Sterling Publishing Co.
for Kindergarten-3rd grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
$14.99
Child's Book of Poetry
by Arthur Malcolm (selected by), illustrated by Eva Noe
from J. H. Sears & Company
for Kindergarten-5th grade
in Vintage Poetry (Location: VIN-POET)
Child's Garden of Verses
by Robert Louis Stevenson, illustrated by Tasha Tudor
from Simon and Schuster
Poetry for 1st-5th grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
$19.99 $14.50 (1 in stock)
Child's Garden of Verses
by Robert Louis Stevenson
from Dover Publications
for 1st-5th grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
$4.00 $1.50 (2 in stock)
Child's Garden of Verses
by Robert Louis Stevenson, illustrated by Eulalie
from Platt and Munk Publishers
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
$8.00 (1 in stock)
Child's Garden of Verses
by Robert Louis Stevenson, illustrated by Cooper Edens
from Chronicle Books
for 1st-5th grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
$10.00 (2 in stock)
Child's Garden of Verses
by Robert Louis Stevenson, illustrated by Jessie Wilcox Smith
from Random House
for 4th-6th grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
Child's Garden of Verses
by Robert Louis Stevenson, illustrated by Jessie Willcox Smith
from Charles Scribner's Sons
for Preschool-4th grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
$9.00 (1 in stock)
Child's Garden of Verses
by Robert Louis Stevenson, illustrated by Alice & Martin Provensen
from Golden Press
for 4th-6th grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
Child's Garden of Verses
Arcadia
by Robert Louis Stevenson, illustrated by Charles Robinson
from Princess House Books
Poetry for 1st-5th grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
$9.00 (1 in stock)
Child's Garden of Verses
by Robert Louis Stevenson, illustrated by Eve Garnett
from Puffin Books
for Kindergarten-3rd grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
Child's Garden of Verses
by Robert Louis Stevenson, illustrated by Florence Storer
from Longmeadow Press
for 1st-5th grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
Child's Garden of Verses
by Robert Louis Stevenson, illustrated by Joanna Isles
from Harry N. Abrams, Inc.
for 1st-5th grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
$12.00 (1 in stock)
Child's Garden of Verses
by Robert Louis Stevenson, illustrated by Thomas Kinkade
First Edition, Thus from Thomas Nelson Publishers
for 1st-5th grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
$10.00 (2 in stock)
Child's Garden of Verses
by Robert Louis Stevenson, illustrated by Jessie Willcox Smith
from Dilithium Press, Ltd.
for Kindergarten-6th grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
Child's Garden of Verses
Books of Wonder
by Robert Louis Stevenson, illustrated by Diane Goode
from HarperCollins
for Kindergarten-4th grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
Child's Garden of Verses
by Robert Louis Stevenson, illustrated by Gyo Fujikawa
from Sterling Publishing Co.
for 2nd-5th grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
Child's Garden of Verses
by Robert Louis Stevenson, illustrated by Hilda Boswell
from Collins
for 2nd-5th grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
Child's Garden of Verses
by Robert Louis Stevenson, illustrated by Jessie Willcox Smith
from Weathervane Books
for 2nd-5th grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
$8.00 (1 in stock)
Child's Garden of Verses
by Robert Louis Stevenson, illustrated by Juanita C. Bennett
from Grosset & Dunlap
for 2nd-5th grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
$16.00 (1 in stock)
Child's Garden of Verses
by Robert Louis Stevenson, illustrated by Eulalie
Popular Edition from Platt and Munk Publishers
in Vintage Poetry (Location: VIN-POET)
$8.00 (1 in stock)
Child's Garden of Verses
by Robert Louis Stevenson, illustrated by Henriette Willebeek Le Mair
from Philomel Books
for Preschool-1st grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
Child's Garden of Verses
by Robert Louis Stevenson, illustrated by Ruth Mary Hallock
from Barnes & Noble
for Nursery-3rd grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
Child's Garden of Verses
by Robert Louis Stevenson, Illustrated by Maria L. Kirk
from J.B. Lippincott Co.
for 1st-5th grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
Child's Garden of Verses
by Robert Louis Stevenson, unknown illustrator
from Henry Altemus Company
for 1st-5th grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
Child's Garden of Verses
by Robert Louis Stevenson, illustrated by Martin & Alice Provensen
from Golden Books
for Preschool-1st grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
$7.00 (1 in stock)
Child's Garden of Verses
by Robert Louis Stevenson, illustrated by Charles Robinson
from Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.
Poetry for 1st-5th grade
Child's Garden of Verses
by Robert Louis Stevenson, illustrated by Eulalie
from Platt and Munk Publishers
in Vintage Poetry (Location: VIN-POET)
Child's Garden of Verses
by Robert Louis Stevenson, illustrated by Eulalie
from Platt and Munk Publishers
for Preschool-2nd grade
in Vintage Poetry (Location: VIN-POET)
$8.00 (1 in stock)
Child's Garden of Verses - A Poetry Pop-Up Book
by Robert Louis Stevenson, illustrated by Martin & Alice Provensen
from Golden Books
for Preschool-1st grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
$7.00 (1 in stock)
Child's Introduction to Poetry
Books for Young Explorers
by Michael Driscoll & Meredith Hamilton
from Black Dog & Leventhal
for 2nd-8th grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
$14.00 (1 in stock)
Child's Introduction to Poetry
Books for Young Explorers
by Michael Driscoll & Meredith Hamilton
First Revised Edition from Black Dog & Leventhal
for 2nd-8th grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
$19.99
Children of Hurin
by J. R. R. Tolkien
from Houghton Mifflin
Fantasy for 9th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
$16.99
Children's Classic Poetry Collection
from Smithmark Publishers
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
Children's Longfellow
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
from Forgotten Books
for 3rd-6th grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
$7.00 (1 in stock)
Children's Own Longfellow
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
from Sandpiper Books
for Ages 9-12
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
Children's Treasury of Classic Poetry
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
Children's Treasury of Nursery Rhymes
by Linda Bleck
Reprint from Sterling Publishing Co.
for Preschool-2nd grade
in Picture Books (Location: PICTURE)
Christopher Robin Book of Verse
by A. A. Milne, illustrated by Ernest H. Shepard
1st edition from E.P. Dutton & Co.
for 1st-3rd grade
in Vintage Poetry (Location: VIN-POET)
$13.00 (1 in stock)
Circus
by Jack Prelutsky, illustrated by Arnold Lobel
from Aladdin Books
Rhyming Books for Preschool-2nd grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
$4.00 (1 in stock)
Civil War Poetry
from Dover Publications
for 9th-Adult
in Poetry Anthologies (Location: POET-ANTH)
$1.75 (3 in stock)
Classic Poetry
by Michael Rosen & Paul Howard
Reprint from Candlewick Press
for 1st-6th grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
$15.99 $9.00 (1 in stock)
Collected Lyrics of Edna St. Vincent Millay
by Edna St. Vincent Millay
from Harper & Row
for 11th-Adult
in Poetry (Location: POET-GEN)
Collected Poems of C. S. Lewis
by C. S. Lewis
from Kent State University Press
for Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
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