The Most Moving Poetry

Share poems that inspired, delighted or broke your heart

Today I listened to this incredibly moving poem set to some heartbreaking art regarding National Buffalo Day and just found myself crying. It's such a powerful message about nature, injustice, white supremacy, wildlife, the treatment of indigenous and Black people, and so much more. Of course, it's also about the buffalo and their terrible treatment by the U.S. over the years as well as the hope of their populations growing once again with so much care in the efforts to restore them by activists and scientists. I haven't put as much thought into a poem in a long time--our attention spans are so fickle these days--but this one is a poem to really sit and contemplate.

Poetry like this is my favorite kind. If it paints a beautiful picture, that's wonderful. But if it really digs deeply into the human psyche and experience, it comes alive. And if it connects everything like a woven web of words like this? It's nothing short of magical. This particular poem is perfect for Native American Heritage Month but it's really about things we need to be aware of and reaching towards on a daily basis.

What is the most moving poem you've experienced? When was the last time a poem brought you to your knees? Share that poem and your thoughts about it with us in the chat.

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Poems Everyone Should Read

Share your recommendations in the chat

The author of the book Beyond Happiness thinks that everyone should read the poetry book Inward, particularly if they are just starting out in their careers. As a workplace happiness expert, she says the book is really straightfoward and offers advice on everything from letting go to self-love. 

At first I was skeptical of Jenn Lim's advice, but I love how the author speaks about living in the "reset of humanity," and how to understand "what it means to be scientifically happy through the lens of grief and loss." This book is going on my TBR pile for sure and I hope it resonates like she says because boy are we all in pain. We could use more helpful guides like this.

What poems or books of poetry would you suggest to anyone and why? Share your favorites in the chat. 

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Favorite Poems of All Time

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Fall is one of my favorite seasons to enjoy poetry. Spring has its darlings, for sure, but there's just something about the melancholy, the macabre, and the meaningful that impact fall poems. Anything from Poe to Oliver comes to mind, and of course the fact that it's my favorite season might have something to do with it.

While it has notes of summer in it, I love to read Christina Rossetti's famous "Goblin Market" at this time of year. It's such a lush, eerie poem that really speaks of Halloween to me, even though it's filled with ripe summer fruit. To me, it may be the most gorgeous poem ever written, and it's certainly inspired plenty of art over the years. 

What are your favorite poems to read in the fall, or anytime? What is your favorite poem of all time? Share it with us in the chat--with links, if you have them!

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Fun Poetry Challenges

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It's no secret that we love a good poetry challenge around here, so when I heard that this year's GISH Halloween challenge, also known as Halloweird, was featuring a poetry prompt on the first day, I thought I'd share it with y'all. GISH is doing a free 13 Days of Halloween challenge and day one, yesterday, involved a poem that Misha Collins wrote.

The prompt was to illustrate a poem from Collins' new book, which some GISHers found a little commercial-y. But Misha does so much every year for so many people that most of us are at least a little okay with his self-promotion. The poem involves a black cat or three (you can buy the book or just search for the poem and find lots of posts featuring it on social media) and is great for Halloween.

What other fun Halloween poetry prompts have you run across recently? Share them in the chat.

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Celebrating the Month with Poetry

Could you use a poetry tree?

October always seems so heavy with themes. It's Anti-Bullying Month, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, LGBTQIA Awareness Month, and so many other holidays. It's also home to Coming Out Day. Between all of these and other events, there is lots of room for emotional processing, creativity and expression, which is where poetry comes in.

Last month I saw a poetry tree dedicated to people who died of suicide and I thought that would be a wonderful way for people to express themselves--a tree with post-it notes. It's so simple yet such a powerful way to put a little piece of yourself out there and share your thoughts and experiences. Our local Starbucks has something like this where you share a positive thought for someone else, but what would a poetry tree look like for the holidays and observances listed above? Could you have one in your school or work place?

How have you implemented ways of sharing thoughts and feelings where you are? Share your ideas and experiences in the chat. 

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The Worst Poems You've Written

What still makes you cringe?

Some poetry lovers read it, some write it and many do both, but how many of us have written bad poetry over the years? And if you've written bad poetry, how do you feel about writing it now?

Anything worth doing is worth doing badly, right? I know I've witten a lot of bad poetry over the years, from two pages of jarring couplets about female circumcision (which was chosen for a lit magazine, so maybe it wasn't too bad--or maybe it was chosen because it was!) to sonnets attempted in old English (yikes), but they all somehow still have a special place in my heart. Honestly sometimes I think I wrote better then just because it was easier to write and I had more time and passion. These days feeling is harder than it used to be.

Do you have any poetry in your past that you wish you could forget? Or do you still enjoy reading it? Tell us about some of your old poems in the chat. 

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Poem of the Week: Antigonish

Let's get into the Halloween spirit!

For this week's poem, let's start getting into the Halloween spirit with the poem "Antigonish [I met a man who wasn't there]," by Hughes Mearns! I don't know about you, but my favorite kind of scare isn't the in-your-face scare, or the gory scare. It's the kind that creeps up on you, the kind that tells you more without saying anything at all, and that's the realm in which "Antigonish [I met a man who wasn't there]" resides.

The poem is a nice little ghost story that is perfect for setting the stage for Halloween. Would it surprise you to know that Hughes Mearns wrote it in 1899? It's still so fresh and feels as if it could have been written this week.

What Halloween poems set the mood for you? Share them in the chat! 

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The Sealy Challenge

Have you ever taken part?

Named after poet and teacher Nicole Sealey, The Sealey Challenge is a call to really expand your mind and your breadth of reading material with a simple yet possibly big task: reading a book of poetry every day during the month of August. The challenge is to read a completely different, full book daily, not just a single book throughout the entire month! This may be an enormous challenge for many but certainly a rewarding experience for any!

While August is over, the Sealey Challenge could be done just about any month as long as the reader has time--and the reader could even make it more challenging by using themes each month. The perfect opportunity for spooky collections of poetry is upon us! Aside from that, it's also a good time to create a list of collections to read through next August, if that is the goal.

Have you ever completed the Sealey Challenge? What collections did you enjoy the most? What did you learn? Share your insights and tips in the chat.


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Lifetime Achievement Award Earned By Patricia Smith

The award is $100,000

The Poetry Foundation just awarded its Lifetime Achievement Award to poet Patricia Smith. Also known as the Lilly Poetry Prize, it's awarded to extraordinary poets for accomplishments made throughout their lifetimes. Smith is known for her poems like "Blood Dazzler" and "Incendiary Art." The award for the Lilly Poetry Prize is $100,000.

Other awards were also chosen, including the Pegasus Award and five poetry fellows. Each will receive their own monetary awards as well.

Have you heard of any other accomplished poets in your area lately? Share their work in the chat. 


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New Poetry Contests

Share the ones you've found in the chat

Poetry contests are a great way to earn recognition for your work, as well as earn a bit of money. Throughout the year there are lots of contests available just for practice and showing off (think contests over at All Poetry), but there are also lots of regular contests for earning some prize awards, too.

The Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Poetry Contest is a great example. The top awards are each $3,000 and there are lots of smaller awards as well. Like many poetry contests, there is an entry fee, but that's a great way to ensure prize money is collected for the next contest. The contest is due September 30 so entries need to be submitted soon!

What other poetry contests are happening this time of year? Share them in the chat.

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