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The Three That Speak to Us: “Do Unto Others,” “Country Western Singer,” “Dead Critics Society”

Daniel Johnson’s “Do Unto Others,” Alan Shapiro’s “Country Western Singer,” and Mike Dockins’ “Dead Critics Society” are three of the greatest, most thought-provoking poems featured in Best American Poetry’s 2007 edition. Nick and I read each poem in the volume looking for underlying themes, tone shifts, creative new ways of conveying messages, and other characteristics to narrow down the…

The Great Poem Series: Billy Collins “Grave”

In New York City, 1941, arguably the most popular poet in America to this date was born. That man was the infamous Billy Collins.  After having a successful career in teaching, Collins shifted his focus to the world of poetry.  He went on from then to compose numerous amounts of successful poems; many of which…

“Hustle” by Jericho Brown

I find that it is necessary for a poem to address a topic that all readers can connect to in a negative or positive way. I call topics that can do this timeless topics. Jericho Brown is renowned for addressing such topics, some which are race, sexuality, and judgement; All of these topics are brought…

Completely Subjective: Denise Duhamel’s “Humanity 101”

Denise Duhamel is an American poet, creative writer, and professor. She was born in Providence, Rhode Island in 1961 and currently teaches at the Florida International University in Miami. Her poem “Humanity 101” is about our perception of the world and her character’s path towards it. Duhamel’s storytelling style in this poem helps paint the…

Great Poem Assignment

Tony Hoagland’s “In a Quiet Town by the Sea,” an astonishing writing on humankind’s greatest and most infamous sin, provides excellent resource for epitomizing what a modern poem should be. More testimonial than literary, Hoagland is intent on keeping the focus as clear and precise as need be, determining the desires of man come directly from thought and not the lack of an experience or situation. The poem itself is a fresh blend of classic poetic devices and methods, each executed perfectly within its stanza and used in a way to create impactful and lasting effect. It is a rather…