Library of Congress

Poetry and Literature

The Library of Congress > Poetry & Literature > Poetry of America
{ site_name: 'Poetry', subscribe_url:'/share/sites/library-of-congress/poetry.php' }

A collection of field recordings by a wide range of award-winning contemporary poets. Each poet reads a singular American poem of his or her choosing, and also speaks to how the poem connects, deepens, or re-imagines our sense of the nation. The feature includes a print version of the poem to complement the recording, as well as a piece by the participating poet.

View Full List of Poetry of America readings and commentary

Recently Added Poetry of America Recordings

Peter Gizzi reads and discusses James Schuyler’s “February” - new

Peter GizziJames Schuyler

“There’s a deeper cold behind the ‘gold and chilly’ weather as he chronicles a major American city from his window. We see beauty and power twinned, ‘the UN building on big evenings,’ and ‘the green leaves of the tulips on my desk like grass light on flesh.’”

Listen to reading and discussion

Sally Keith reads and discusses Ellen Bryant Voigt’s “Owl” - new

Sally KeithEllen Bryant Voigt

“It is the complexity of the innovation in combination with the tender humanity which makes me feel the poem as American.”

Listen to reading and discussion

Carol Muske-Dukes reads and discusses Jon Anderson’s “Rosebud” - new

Carol Muske-DukesJon Anderson

“This poem is about history and identity in that it is about, as Jon Anderson says, the ‘last important victory’ of the tribes, for the tribes, and also about living in history.”

Listen to reading and discussion

Diane Seuss reads and discusses Emily Dickinson’s “508 (I’m ceded — I’ve stopped being Theirs —)” - new

Diane SeussEmily Dickenson

“Still, yet, for a woman writing from the middle of the 1800s, a woman who rarely ventured from her father’s house, the self-claiming in this and so many of her poems is extraordinary, and strikes me as quintessentially American, at least as Americans dream themselves to be.”

Listen to reading and discussion

Afaa Michael Weaver reads and discusses Paul Laurence Dunbar’s “Little Brown Baby” - new

Afaa Michael WeaverPaul Laurence Dunbar

“. . . in this particular poem, I find the treasure of the love of the father for the child, and I think of African American men and their evolution as men in the context of the racial history of this country.”

Listen to reading and discussion

View Full List of Poetry of America readings and commentary