Friday, July 28, 2006

One-hundred of the Greatest American Poems


Langston Hughes

Nin Andrews, Dedicated to the One I Love
John Ashbery, Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror
W.H. Auden, Musee des Beaux Arts
Allison Benis, Anorexia
John Berryman, 77 Dream Songs (Dream Song 14)
Jenny Boully, Kafka's Garden
Gwendolyn Brooks, The Second Sermon on the Warpland

Charles Bukowski, The Laughing Heart
Lucille Clifton, “Come celebrate with me….”
Lucille Clifton, Night Vision
Lucille Clifton, Salt
Billy Collins, Love
Billy Collins, Poetry
Hart Crane, The River
Carolyn Creedon, Litany
Carolyn Creedon, Pub Poem
Countee Cullen, Yet Do I Marvel

Emily Dickinson, “After great pain, a formal feeling comes….”
Emily Dickinson, “Because I would not stop for death….”
Emily Dickinson, “Much madness is divinest sense….”
Emily Dickinson, “Success counted sweetest….”
Linh Dinh, The Most Beautiful Word
Tim Dlugos, Healing the World from Battery Park
Paul Lawrence Dunbar,
Bob Dylan, A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall
T.S. Eliot, Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

T.S. Eliot, The Wasteland
Nick Flynn, Cartoon Physics Part I
Alice B. Fogel, The Necessity
Robert Frost, Acquainted with the Night
Robert Frost, Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening
Amy Gerstler, Alice and Lewis
Allen Ginsburg, America

Allen Ginsberg, Howl
Louise Gluck, Vita Nova
Bob Hicok, Happy Anniversary
Tony Hoagland, November Life
Langston Hughes, I, Too, Sing America

Nick Flynn
Langston Hughes, The Negro Speaks of Rivers
Langston Hughes, Peace
Randall Jarrell, The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner
Robinson Jeffers, Hurt Hawks
Robert Pinsky, From the Childhood of Jesus

Frank O'Hara
Sylvia Plath, Daddy
Sylvia Plath, Elm
Sylvia Plath, Fever 103
Adrienne Rich, Diving Into the Wreck
E.A. Robinson, Eros Turannos

Theodore Roethke, Her Longing
Theodore Roethke, The Shape of Fire
Matthew Rohrer, New Year’s Eve
Carl Sandburg, Chicago
Delmore Schwartz, The Young Child and His Pregnant Mother
Anne Sexton, The Break
Anne Sexton, For John Who Begs Me Not to Inquire Further
Anne Sexton, Imitations of Drowning
Richard Siken, The Dislocated Room
Shel Silverstein, Rain
Stevie Smith, Not Waving But Drowning
W.D. Snodgrass, Heart’s Needle
Gabriel Spera, In a Field Outside of Town
Rachel Srabus, I Want to Marry You
Sylvia Plath
The Rules & Guidelines I used while compiling this list:
  • No poem that I read for the first time in the past year.
  • No more than four poems by any one poet. And usually I tried to limit it to 1-2, keeping 3-4 for the masters / those who have been around long enough to be considered masters.
  • I defined "American" somewhat broadly: Any poem that was published in an American book or periodical qualified. Also, any poet who lived in the States for a significant amount of time; for example, the three transatlantic poets Dylan Thomas, TS Eliot, and WH Auden considered “American” for these purposes.


Sam of the ten thousand things said...
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jenni said...

yall are more ambitious than me -- there's no way i could make a list like this -- 20 maybe, but 100 -- i'd be looney. LOL

enjoyed your lists though!

ryan said...

you've mentioned your list, and how, at one point, it was a difficult to cut said list back down to 100. An ambitious endeavor, indeed. Of those works I've not yet read, I will be on a hunt.

LKD said...


Are you there?

If you are, might you consider posting a response to the book meme that's currently making the rounds? I already tagged 7 people which is two more than I should've and after tagging them, your name popped into my head. I'd love to see how you respond.

Glenn Ingersoll said...

My list would have to consist of My Favorites and would not be restricted to America. And there would be way more than one hundred.

This one, for instance, a translation of an anonymous Japanese haiku (tr Peter Beilenson & Harry Behn):

As she washes rice
her smiling face
is briefly
lit my firefly.