Poems for Teens
You write about the life that's vividest.
And if that is your own, that is your subject.
And if the years before and after sixteen
Are colorless as salt and taste like sand—
Return to those remembered chilly mornings,
The light spreading like a great skin on the water...
From "Ground Swell" by Mark Jarman
"One way to look at reading: as the lifelong construction of a map by which to trace and plumb what it has ever meant to be in the world, and by which to gain perspective on that other, ongoing map—the one that marks our own passage through the world as we both find and make it."
From "Another and Another Before That: Some Thoughts on Reading," by Carl Phillips
"I respond most to what is found out about the heart and spirit, what we can hear through the language. Best of all, of course, is when the language and other means of poetry combine with the meaning to make us experience what we understand."
From "The Art of Finding" by Linda Gregg
by Mark Strand
Ink runs from the corners of my mouth...
homage to my hips
by Lucille Clifton
these hips are big hips...
by W. S. Merwin
Listen / with the night falling we are saying thank you...
by Sonia Sanchez
forgive me if i laugh...
by Billy Collins
I might as well begin by saying how much I like the title...
by Thomas Sayers Ellis
My father was an enormous man...
by Jon Loomis
You're seventeen and tunnel-vision drunk...
by James Dickey
The states when they black out and lie there rolling when they turn...
by Mark Jarman
Is nothing real but when I was fifteen...
by Reginald Shepherd
He winds through the party like wind, one of the just...
Alice at Seventeen: Like a Blind Child
by Darcy Cummings
One summer afternoon, I learned my body...
by Frank O'Hara
Mothers of America...
Charlotte Brontë in Leeds Point
by Stephen Dunn
From her window marshland stretched for miles...
by John Blair
A youngest brother turns seventeen with a click as good as a roar...
by David Baker
Then a stillness descended the blue hills...
In Knowledge of Young Boys
by Toi Derricotte
i knew you before you had a mother...
Dangerous for Girls
by Connie Voisine
It was the summer of Chandra Levy, disappearing...
Howl, Parts I & II
by Allen Ginsberg
I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked...
by Nikki Giovanni
Backing out the driveway...
Merrsey and Dosey
by Sharon Olds
Say you want to leave home...
by Anne Waldman
she / not to be confused with she, a dog...
Making a Fist
by Naomi Shihab Nye
For the first time, on the road north of Tampico...
by Kim Addonizio
Damp-haired from the bath, you drape yourself...
Notes from the Other Side
by Jane Kenyon
I divested myself of despair...
by Kay Ryan
Patience is / wider than one / once envisioned...
by Rita Dove
One narcissus among the ordinary beautiful...
The Wild Iris
by Louise Glück
At the end of my suffering...
The Young Man's Song
by W. B. Yeats
I whispered, "I am too young"...
by Donald Hall
when my father had been dead a week...
Who Will Know Us?
by Gary Soto
It is cold, bitter as a penny...
That Sure is My Little Dog
by Eleanor Lerman
Yes, indeed, that is my house that I am carrying around...
The Changing Light
by Lawrence Ferlinghetti
The changing light / at San Francisco...
by Derek Walcott
The fist clenched round my heart...
The New Higher
by John Ashbery
You meant more than life to me. I lived through...
by Eavan Boland
The only legend I have ever loved is...
Let us know what poems you like. Send your recommendations to us by email at email@example.com.