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Monmouth College Hewes Library

Poetry: Home

A guide for Reading, Writing, and Thinking About POETRY

This guide celebrates poetry:  reading, writing and thinking critically about this form of creative expression. 


reading poetry

writing poetry

thinking about poetry

Monmouth College reads poetry

Monmouth College reads poetry (2020)

A selection of contemporary African-American poetry

List shared by Professor David Wright and compiled with resources from the Academy of American Poets, the Poetry Foundation, JSTOR, and the Brooklyn Poets Reading Series.

The Tradition” by Jericho Brown

A Small Needful Fact” by Ross Gay

Black Laws” by Roger Reeves

little prayer” by Danez Smith

My Seneca Village” by Marilyn Nelson

Imagine” by Kamilah Aisha Moon

A Place in the Country” by Toi Derricotte

Sherbet” by Cornelius Eady

Theme for English B” by Langston Hughes

Making History” by Marilyn Nelson

Crossing” by Jericho Brown

Declaration” by Tracy K. Smith

from Citizen, VI [On the train the woman standing]” by Claudia Rankine

I saw Emmett Till this week at the grocery store” by Eve L. Ewing

There are Birds Here” by Jamaal May

A Brief History of Murder” by Simone John

American History” by Michael Harper

“Ghazal, after Ferguson” by Yusef Komunyakaa

Pilgrimage”* by Natasha Trethewey (*MC patrons may login to view poem via JSTOR)

Second Sermon on the Warpland”* by Gwendolyn Brooks (*ebook available for free check out)

Poems of protest, resistance, and empowerment 

"Pithy and powerful, poetry is a popular art form at protests and rallies. From the civil rights and women’s liberation movements to Black Lives Matter, poetry is commanding enough to gather crowds in a city square and compact enough to demand attention on social media. Speaking truth to power remains a crucial role of the poet in the face of political and media rhetoric designed to obscure, manipulate, or worse. The selection of poems below call out and talk back to the inhumane forces that threaten from above. They expose grim truths, raise consciousness, and build united fronts. Some insist, as Langston Hughes writes, “That all these walls oppression builds / Will have to go!” Others seek ways to actively “make peace,” as Denise Levertov implores, suggesting that “each act of living” might cultivate collective resistance. All rail against complacency and demonstrate why poetry is necessary and sought after in moments of political crisis." ~ The Poetry Foundation

A collection of LGBTQ pride poems from the Poetry Foundation features diverse voices such as Walt Whitman, Audre Lorde and CAConrad.



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