Classics of Poetry

in the English language

Selected by piero scaruffi
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Classics of English Poetry

1. Thomas Stearns Eliot (USA): "Four Quartets" (1943)

2. John Milton (Britain): "Paradise Lost" (1667)

3. Wallace Stevens (USA): "Notes Towards a Supreme Fiction" (1942)

4. William Butler Yeats (Ireland): "The Tower" (1928)

5. William Wordsworth (Britain): "Prelude" (1805)

6. John Ashbery (USA): "Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror" (1975)

7. Thomas Stearns Eliot (USA): "The Waste Land" (1922)

8. Ezra Pound (USA): "Cantos" (1970)

9. John Donne (Britain): "Holy Sonnets" (1618)

10. John Keats (Britain): "Ode to a Nightingale" (1820)

11. Robert Browning (Britain): "The Ring and the Book" (1869)

12. William Butler Yeats (Ireland): "The Winding Stair" (1929)

13. Geoffrey Chaucer (Britain): "Canterbury Tales" (1400)

14. William Blake (Britain): "Jerusalem" (1820)

15. Seamus Heaney (Ireland): "Death of a Naturalist" (1966)

16. Kamau Brathwaite (Barbados): "The Arrivants" (1973)

17. David Jones (Britain): "The Anathemata" (1952)

18. John Keats (Britain): "Ode to Autumn" (1820)

19. William Carlos Williams (USA): "Paterson" (1958)

20. Derek Walcott (Trinidad): "Another Life"" (1973)

21. John Keats (Britain): "Ode on Melancholy" (1820)

22. Hart Crane (USA): "The Bridge" (1930)

23. James Merrill (USA): "The Changing Light at Sandover" (1982)

24. Unknown (Britain): "Beowulf" (9##)

25. John Keats (Britain): "Ode on a Grecian Urn" (1820)


* Items preluded with a + are suggested additions

Adrienne Rich (USA): "Snapshots of a Daughter-in-Law" (1963)

Ai / Florence Anthony (USA): "Vice" (1999)

Alexander Pope (Britain): "The Rape of the Lock" (1714)

Alexander Pope (Britain): "An Essay on Man" (1734)

Alexander Pope (Britain): "Epistles to Arbuthnot" (1735)

Alfred Tennyson (Britain): "Idylls of the King" (1885)

Algernon Swinburne (Britain): "Poems and Ballads" (1866)

Alice Notley (USA): "The Descent of Alette" (1996)

Alice Oswald (Britain): "Dart" (2002)

Alice Oswald (Britain): "Falling Awake" (2017)

Allen Curnow (New Zealand): "At Dead Low Water" (1949)

Allen Ginsberg (USA): “Howl” (1955)

Allen Tate (USA): "Ode to the Confederate Dead" (1928)

Andrew Hudgins (USA): "After the Lost War" (1988)

Andrew Marvell (Britain): "The Garden" (1633)

Andrew Marvell (Britain): "Horatian Ode upon Cromwell's Return from Ireland" (1659)

Andrew Marvell (Britain): "A Dialogue Between the Resolved Soul and Created Pleasure" (1681)

Andrew Young (Britain): "A Travellerin Time" (1958)

Andrew Young (Britain): "Into Hades" (1952)

Anne Carson (Canada): "Autobiography of Red" (1998)

Anne Carson (Canada): "The Glass Essay" (1995)

Anne Sexton (USA): "Live or Die" (1966)

Anthony Hecht (USA):"The Hard Hours" (1967)

Anthony Thwaite (Britain): "The Owl in the Tree" (1963)

Anthony Thwaite (Britain): "Inscriptions" (1973)

Archie Randolph Ammons (USA): "Sphere" (1974)

Ariana Reines (USA): "Coeur de Lion" (2007)

Arun Kolatkar (India): "Jejuri" (1976)

Austin Clarke (Ireland): "Mnemosyne Lay in Dust" (1966)

Basil Bunting (Britain): "Briggflatts" (1966)

Basil Bunting (Britain): "The Spoils" (1951)

Bernadette Mayer (USA): "Midwinter Day" (1982)

Bernardine Evaristo (Britain): "The Emperor's Babe " (2001)

Carl Sandburg (USA): "The People Yes" (1936)

Carol Ann Duffy (Britain):"Mean Time" (1993)

Carol Ann Duffy (Britain): "Rapture" (2005)

Carol Ann Duffy (Britain): "Standing Female Nude" (1985)

Cecil Day-Lewis (Britain): "Overtures to Death" (1938)

Charles Bukowski (Germany): “Love Is a Dog from Hell” (1977)

Charles Olson (USA): "Maximus" (1968)

Charles Simic (USA): "Charon's Cosmology" (1977)

Charles Simic (USA): "The World Doesn't End" (1990)

Charles Simic (USA): "Walking the Black Cat" (1996)

Christopher Brennan (Australia): "Poems" (1913)

Christopher Okigbo (Nigeria): "Heavensgate" (1962)

Christopher Okigbo (Nigeria): "Path of Thunder" (1967)

Christopher Reid (Britain): "Arcadia" (1979)

Christopher Smart (Britain): "Song to David" (1763)

Claudia Rankine (Jamaica): "Citizen" (2014)

Craig Raine (Britain): "A Martian Sends a Postcard Home" (1979)

David Gascoyne (Britain): "Poems 1937-1942" (1943)

David Jones (Britain): "In Parenthesis" (1937)

Denise Levertov (USA): "O Taste and See" (1964)

Dennis Brutus (South Africa): "Letters to Martha" (1968)

Derek Mahon (Britain): "The Hunt by Night" (1982)

Derek Walcott (Trinidad): "Omeros" (1990)

Derek Walcott (Trinidad): "The Castaway" (1965)

Derek Walcott (Trinidad): "The Fortunate Traveller" (1981)

Derek Walcott (Trinidad): "The Schooner Flight" (1979)

Derek Walcott (Trinidad): "The Star-Apple Kingdom" (1979)

Dionne Brand (Canada): "Ossuaries" (2010)

Don Paterson (Britain): "God's Gift to Women" (1997)

Don Paterson (Britain): "Landing Light" (2003)

Douglas Dunn (Britain): "Elegies" (1985)

Douglas Stewart (New Zealand): "Sun Orchids" (1952)

Dylan Thomas (Britain): "Deaths and Entrances" (1946)

Dylan Thomas (Britain): "In Country Sleep" (1951)

Eavan Boland (Ireland): "The Historians" (2020)

Ed Dorn (USA): "Gunslinger" (1975)

Edgar Allan Poe (USA): “Tamerlane” (1827)

Edith Sitwell (Britain): "The Outcasts" (1962)

Edmund Spenser (Britain): "The Faerie Queene" (1596)

Edward Thomas (Britain): "Poems" (1917)

Edwin John Pratt (Canada): "The Titanic" (1935)

Edwin Muir (Britain): "The Labyrinth" (1949)

Elizabeth Bishop (USA): "Geography III" (1976)

Elizabeth Jennings (Britain): "A Way of Looking" (1955)

Emily Dickinson (USA): "Poems" (1886)

Fanny Howe (USA): "Second Childhood" (2014)

Frank Bidart (USA): "Metaphysical Dog" (1997)

Frank O'Hara (USA): "Meditations in an Emergency" (1956)

Galway Kinnell (USA): "The Book of Nightmares" (1971)

Gary Snyder (USA): "Mountains and Rivers without End" (1996)

Geoffrey Hill (Britain): "For the Unfallen" (1959)

Geoffrey Hill (Britain): "King Log" (1968)

Geoffrey Hill (Britain): "Mercian Hymns" (1971)

Geoffrey Hill (Britain): "The Mystery of the Charity of Charles Peguy" (1983)

George Barker (Britain): "The True Confessions" (1950)

George Crabbe (Britain): "The Village" (1783)

George Herbert (Britain): "The Temple" (1633)

Gerard Manley Hopkins (Britain): "The Wreck of the Deutschland" (1875)

Gertrude Stein (USA): "Stanzas in Meditation" (1932)

Grace Nichols (Guyana): "I Is a Long-Memoried Woman" (1983)

Hannah Sullivan (Britain): "Three Poems" (2018)

Hart Crane (USA): "The Bridge" (1930)

Hart Crane (USA): "White Buildings" (1926)

Heather McHugh (USA): "Muddy Matterhorn" (2020)

Hilda Doolittle (USA): "Trilogy" (1946)

Hugh MacDiarmid (Britain): "A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle" (1926)

James Dickey (USA): "Buckdancer's Choice" (1965)

James Keir Baxter (New Zealand): "Howrah Bridge" (1961)

James McAuley (Australia): "A Vision of Ceremony" (1956)

James McAuley (Australia): "Captain Quiros" (1964)

James Merrill (USA): "Nights and Days" (1966)

Jean Garrigue (USA): "Country Without Maps" (1964)

Jeremy Halvard Prynne (Britain): "The White Stones" (1969)

Jeremy Prynne (Britain): "The Oval Window" (1983)

John Ashbery (USA): "Rivers and Mountains" (1966)

John Ashbery (USA): "The System" (1972)

John Ashbery (USA): "Houseboat Days" (1977)

John Ashbery (USA): "A Wave" (1984)

John Ashbery (USA): "Flow Chart" (1991)

John Berryman (USA): "Homage to Mistress Bradstreet" (1956)

John Berryman (USA): "77 Dream Songs" (1964)

John Clare (Britain): "Poems Descriptive of Rural Life and Scenery" (1820)

John Davies (Britain): "Orchestra" (1596)

John Donne (Britain): "Elegies" (1601)

John Donne (Britain): "Songs and Sonnets" (1601)

John Donne (Britain): "The Progress of the Soul" (1601)

John Donne (Britain): "An Anatomy of the World" (1611)

John Donne (Britain): "Of the Progress of the Soul" (1612)

John Dryden (Britain): "Absalom and Achitophel" (1681)

John Dryden (Britain): "ReligioLaici" (1682)

John Dryden (Britain): "The Hind and the Panther" (1687)

John Fuller (Britain): "The Illusionists" (1980)

John Haines (USA): "Letter to Patience" (2006)

John Hollander (USA): "Powers of Thirteen" (1983)

John Hollander (USA): "In Time and Place" (1986)

John Keats (Britain): "Endymion" (1818)

John Keats (Britain): "The Eve of St Agnes" (1820)

John Keats (Britain): "Odes" (1820)

John Keats (Britain): "La Belle Dame Sans Merci" (1821)

John Keats (Britain): "The Eve of St Mark" (1821)

Jorie Graham (USA): "Hybrids of Plants and of Ghosts" (1980)

Kamau Brathwaite (Barbados): "Mother Poem" (1977)

Kamau Brathwaite (Barbados): "The Arrivants" (1973)

Karen Solie (Canada): "The Road in Is Not the Same Road Out" (2015)

Kathleen Raine (Britain): "Stone and Flower" (1943)

Kendrick Smithyman (New Zealand): "Reading the Maps" (1977)

Kenneth Koch (USA): "When the Sun Tries to Go On" (1960)

Kenneth Koch (USA): "Seasons on Earth" (1959)

Kenneth Patchen (USA): "Because It Is" (1960)

Khalil Gibran (Lebanon): "The Prophet" (1923)

Langston Hughes (USA): "Montage of a Dream Deferred" (1951)

Les Murray (Australia): "On Interest" (1983)

Les Murray (Australia): "Walking to the Cattle-Place" (1972)

Lord Byron (Britain): "Don Juan" (1823)

Louis MacNeice (Ireland): "Solstices" (1961)

Louis MacNeice (Ireland): "Autumn Journal" (1939)

Louis Zukofsky (USA): "A" (1978)

Louise Gluck (USA): "The Triumph of Achilles" (1985)

Louise Gluck (USA): "The Wild Iris" (1992)

Louise Gluck (USA): "Averno " (2006)

Marianne Moore (USA): "Observations" (1924)

Mark Strand (USA): "Dark Harbor" (1993)

Michael Drayton (Britain): "The Poly-Olbion" (1622)

Michael Longley (Ireland): "Gorse Fires" (1991)

Mongane Wally Serote (South Africa): "Yakhal'inkomo" (1972)

Muriel Rukeyser (USA): "The Book of the Dead" (1938)

Nathaniel Mackey (USA): "Double Trio" (2018)

Oliver Goldsmith (Britain): "The Deserted Village" (1770)

Okot p'Bitek (Ugandan): "Song of Lawino" (1966)

Patrick Kavanagh (Ireland): "The Great Hunger" (1942)

Paul Muldoon (Britain): "Immram" (1980)

Paul Muldoon (Britain): "Moy Sand and Gravel" (2002)

Percy Shelley (Britain): "Prometheus Unbound" (1821)

Peter Reading (Britain): "Diplopic" (1983)

Peter Reading (Britain): "Stet" (1986)

Philip Larkin (Britain): "The Whitsun Weddings" (1964)

Philip Larkin (Britain): "The Less Deceived" (1955)

Philip Larkin (Britain): "High Windows" (1974)

Philip Whalen (USA): "High Grade" (1966)

Phyllis Webb (Canada): "Wilson's Bowl" (1980)

Randall Jarrell (USA): "The Lost World" (1965)

Rita Dove (USA): "Sonata Mulattica" (2009)

Robert Browning (Britain): "Dramatis Personae" (1864)

Robert Browning (Britain): "The Ring and the Book" (1869)

Robert Browning (Britain): "Men and Women" (1855)

Robert Duncan (USA): "Bending the Bow" (1968)

Robert Duncan (USA): "Ground Work" (1983)

Robert Duncan (USA): "The Venice Poem" (1948)

Robert Frost (USA): "North of Boston" (1914)

Robert Frost (USA): "A Further Range" (1936)

Robert Lowell (USA): "Mills of the Kavanaughs" (1951)

Robert Lowell (USA): "Life Studies" (1959)

Robin Robertson (Britain): "The Wrecking Light" (2010)

Robinson Jeffers (USA): "Tamar" (1924)

Ronald Johnson (USA): "Ark" (1996)

Roy Campbell (South Africa): "The Flaming Terrapin" (1924)

Roy Fisher (Britain): "The Furnace" (1986)

Sacheverell Sitwell (Britain): "Agamemnon's Tomb" (1933)

Samuel Butler (Britain): "Hudibras" (1674)

Samuel Johnson (Britain): "The Vanity of Human Wishes" (1749)

Samuel Taylor Coleridge (Britain): "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" (1798)

Seamus Heaney (Ireland): "North" (1975)

Seamus Heaney (Ireland): "Station Island" (1984)

Seamus Heaney (Ireland): "Seeing Things" (1991)

Stephen Spender (Britain): "Poems of Dedication / Elegy for Margaret" (1947)

Stephen Spender (Britain): "Poems / Pylons" (1933)

Stevie Smith (Britain): "The Frog Prince" (1966)

Sylvia Plath (USA): "Ariel" (1965)

Ted Berrigan (USA): "The Sonnets" (1982)

Ted Hughes (Britain): "Lupercal" (1960)

Ted Hughes (Britain): "Crow" (1970)

Theodore Roethke (USA): "Four for Sir John Davies" (1953)

Theodore Roethke (USA): "Dying Man" (1957)

Theodore Roethke (USA): "Meditations of an Old Woman" (1957)

Theodore Roethke (USA): "The Lost Son" (1948)

Thom Gunn (Britain): "The Sense of Movement" (1957)

Thomas Gray (Britain): "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard" (1751)

Timothy Donnelly (USA): "The Problem of the Many" (2019)

Tony Harrison (Britain): "The School of Eloquence" (1978)

Unknown (Britain): "The Owl and the Nightingale" (120#)

Unknown (Britain): "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight" (13##)

Wallace Stevens (USA): "Ideas of Order" (1935)

Walt Whitman (USA): "Leaves of Grass" (1892)

Walter de la Mare (Britain): "The Traveller" (1946)

Walter Raleigh (Britain): "The Passionate Man's Pilgrimage" (1603)

Weldon Kees (USA): "The Last Man" (1943)

William Blake (Britain): "Milton" (1808)

William Blake (Britain): "Vala" (1797)

William Blake (Britain): "Songs of Experience" (1794)

William Butler Yeats (Ireland): "The Wild Swans at Coole" (1917)

William Butler Yeats (Ireland): "Michael Robartes and the Dancer" (1921)

William Butler Yeats (Ireland): "A Full Moon in March" (1935)

William Carlos Williams (USA): "Spring and All" (1923)

William Cowper (Britain): "The Task" (1785)

William Cowper (Britain): "The Castaway" (1800)

William DeWitt Snodgrass (USA): "The Fuhrer Bunker" (1995)

William Langland (Britain): "Piers the Plowman" (1386)

William Shakespeare (Britain): "Sonnets" (1609)

William Stanley Merwin (USA): "The Carrier of Ladders" (1970)

William Stanley Merwin (USA): "The Moving Target" (1963)

William Wordsworth (Britain): "Michael" (1800)

William Wordsworth (Britain): "Intimations of Immortality" (1807)

Wole Soyinka (Nigeria): "A Shuttle in the Crypt" (1968)

Wystan Hugh Auden (Britain): "New Year Letter" (1941)

Wystan Hugh Auden (Britain): "The Age of Anxiety" (1947)


See the Chronology of English Literature