Five Poets You Should Read

Post copyright by Doris McCraw/Angela Raines-author

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April is National Poetry Month. In honor of that I am sharing five different poets that I love and poems I believe important works. I posted some or the links. I strongly suggest you give these poets a try. Most are easily read, but oh the ideas they convey. Also, if anyone wants to do more, here is the link from on thirty ways to celebrate the month.

My first choice is HH, or Helen Hunt Jackson. The reason is probably obvious, but her work stands out in many ways. In her lifetime she was considered the best female poet of that time. Her poem “Last Words” always hits home. I post it here for you:

Last Words
Dear hearts, whose love has been so sweet to know,
That I am looking backward as I go,
Am lingering while I haste, and in this rain
Of tears of joy am mingling tears of pain;
Do not adorn with costly shrub, or tree,
Or flower, the little grave which shelters me.
Let the wild wind-sown seeds grow up unharmed,
And back and forth all summer, unalarmed,
Let all the tiny, busy creatures creep;
Let the sweet grass its last year’s tangles keep;
And when, remembering me, you come some day
And stand there, speak no praise, but only say,
” How she loved us’! ‘Twas that which made her dear! “
Those are the words that I shall joy to hear.

Next is Alfred, Lord Tennyson. Poet Laurette during Queen Victoria’s reign, there has always been something in the way he tells the story I respond to. Here a link to one of his shorter works, but a favorite:

Has anyone read Lawrence Ferlinghetti? His work can be a bit hard to handle, but again, his magic with words has never failed to surprise me. I will give to links to two of my favorites:

As I move on, my forth poet is Edger Lee Masters. Many people may wonder why or if he is a poet. You have only to read his masterpiece “Spoon River Anthology” to know. His epitaphs of the citizens of Spoon River will stay with you many years after reading. I recommend everyone spend some time with this book. May I be remembered as someone like Lucinda Matlock: Her epitaph I give to you here:

Lucinda Matlock
I went to the dances at Chandlerville,
And played snap-out at Winchester.
One time we changed partners,
Driving home in the moonlight of middle June,
And then I found Davis.
We were married and lived together for seventy years,
Enjoying, working, raising the twelve children,
Eight of whom we lost
Ere I had reached the age of sixty.
I spun, I wove, I kept the house, I nursed the sick,
I made the garden, and for holiday
Rambled over the fields where sang the larks,
And by Spoon River gathering many a shell,
And many a flower and medicinal weed—
Shouting to the wooded hills, singing to the green valleys.
At ninety-six I had lived enough, that is all,
And passed to a sweet repose.
What is this I hear of sorrow and weariness,
Anger, discontent and drooping hopes?
Degenerate sons and daughters,
Life is too strong for you—
It takes life to love Life.

My fifth and final poet for this post is Robert Frost. Many know his poems, Road Not Taken, Stopping by Woods, but for me his poem Fire and Ice is classic. I share it here:

Fire and Ice
Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.


Join me later this month as I share more poets you should know. In the meantime, please enjoy my haiku and photos at:

Angela Raines is the pen name for Doris McCraw. Originally from the mid-west, Doris now calls the Rocky Mountains her home. Doris is a writer, historian, actor,and teacher. An avid reader Doris loves to spend time in history archives looking for the small, unknown pieces of history. Many times these pieces end up in her stories or poems.  Like her author page to stay on top of her work.

“One Christmas Knight” Medieval Anthology

“Angel of Salvation Valley”






23 thoughts on “Five Poets You Should Read

  1. I had a college professor who said that a favorite poem is like a good friend you may lose contact with over the years, but you can return to for comfort and understanding and you will often learn something new each time you revisit it. I’ve found that with Frost’s “Stopping By Woods On a Snowy Evening.”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Joe, I have friends who say they don’t get poetry, but then they will mention poems that have stayed with them for years. All the poems I mentioned have impacted my life along the way. Perhaps that’s why I still write the haiku’s even after three years and over a thousand posted. Thanks for stopping by, you’v’e been missed. Doris

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for sharing, Doris. I love poetry and have many favorites and Robert Frost is at the top of my list. I have not read Lawrence Ferlinghetti but will use your link later this afternoon to visit his works. Poetry is so soothing, almost like meditation. It lulls the mind to quiet.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very true, Linda, but like Ferlinghetti, some make you think. Poetry is such a wonderful way to say things. Perhaps being musicians, we are drawn to poetry because music is poetry set to tunes. Thanks Linda, I appreciate your comments and support. Doris PS Hope you find Ferlinghetti interesting.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for suggesting these. I’d forgotten about Spoon River Anthology. When I was a senior in high school, I participated in the local production of a musical based on this volume of poetry. It’s definitely worth reading if only to elicit memories of that time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are welcome Abbie. As a poet, I thought you might enjoy some of these. Spoon River was and still is one of my favorites. I bet you were wonderful in what ever you did with the production. Happy reading. Doris

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Delightful poems, Doris. I’m not much of a poet, but I tried my hand at some the past few days and had the students in the classes where I was a visitor today try their hands at writing some nature poetry. I think they had fun — at least some of them. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Gayle, the lovely thing about poetry, it tells stories with the music of words. I am glad you enjoyed the poems and thank you for sharing the practice with children. I truly enjoy National Poetry Month. Doris PS You are probably better at poetry than you realize, with your gift of words.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve always loved poetry! I love to go see or watch spoken word poetry. Being able to hear the poem performed by the author add a dimension to the piece that I may not get just through reading it. Although reading it does allow me to interpret it through my own experiences.


  6. These were great poems to share. I enjoyed them very much. My dad used to spout lines from poems at times just out of the blue. I think they memorized more back in his day. And I had a patient in the emergency room one time that had to recite the whole “Village Blacksmith” poem by Longfellow to me after I admitted him. Poems say much in a short time, they are truly expressions of the soul I think.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Neva, I believe you mailed it with expressions of the soul. I love that phrase.

      Yes, I believe they did memorize more ‘back in the day’. Longfellow is also another good one, and I can just hear the patient speaking. So glad you enjoyed the poems. They are some of my favorites. Doris

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I fell in l9ve with poetry in the 5th grade. The main poem I related to was “Every Time I Climb a Tree”. I memorized it then, and still know it today. It has been a good friend to me. Of course I’ve memorized much since then. Poetry played a very important part in my devotional book. I wrote a poem for every chapter, and I shared a famous poem in every chapter. I always enjoy your poems and photography. Cher’ley

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cher’ley, like you I believe poetry can and does help to heal. There is something about the language that allows a person to find pieces that relate to their lives.

      Thank you so much for your kinds words and encouragement for my efforts with poetry. Doris

      Liked by 2 people

  8. I was more in tune with poetry when I had to teach the skills needed for varying types. I tended to read more to get better and better examples. I confess to not doing that these days but a greet poem can linger very long, the sentiments engendered can easily be recalled again in later years. Interesting examples and as you’ve shown, Doris, sometimes the ‘shape’ a poem has can be conveyed better by the setting out- centering helping to emphasise parts of it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nancy, you are correct. each poem seems to demand its own format to bring the full force of the meaning to the reader. I confess I don’t read lots of poems every day, but they are a part of my weekly reading. I just love the language. Thanks for adding to the discussion. Doris

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I don’t read much poetry now. I’ve read only those of HH that I stumbled across when I was doing research on Ramona. Didn’t realize that until I read this post. But what I read when I was a student made such an impression.

    Tennyson’s jealous Guinevere taking up her diamonds:
    “Saying which she seized,
    And, thro’ the casement standing wide for heat.
    Flung them, and down they flash’d, and smote the stream.
    Then from the smitten surface flash’d, as it were.
    Diamonds to meet them, and they past away.”

    I read that first in a 1984 graduate class and ever since have held the image of diamonds falling into the stream and sparkling drops of water splashing up like “diamonds to meet them.”

    And “Come into the garden, Maud,
    For the black bat, night, has flown.”

    And the coldest lines, Keat’ “ST. AGNES’ Eve—Ah, bitter chill it was!
    The owl, for all his feathers, was a-cold;
    The hare limp’d trembling through the frozen grass,
    And silent was the flock in woolly fold:
    Numb were the Beadsman’s fingers, while he told 5
    His rosary,…”

    (My professor said if he ever asked on a test, What “for all his feathers was a-cold,” anybody who wrote “hare” would fail the entire course, because hares don’t have feathers and he was tired of reading that answer.)

    And the last line of “Lucinda Matlock” from high school. And “Richard Cory,”… which gave Paul Simon the basis for a song. Well, enough.

    Thanks for this post.


    1. Kathy, for me the beauty of the language is in its poetry. I love the ones you shared. Perhaps someday I’ll write something as magnificent, but until then, I’ll read and read.
      You are so welcome for the post and it’s nice to share language with others who treasure it also. Doris


  10. I was never much of a poetry reader but I do remember that I was moved to tears when I happened upon a poem by Pablo Neruda. I can’t recall which one it was or what the circumstances were or if i was just particularly emotional that day but I was really surprised by my response. It made me realize how beautiful and powerful language really can be. Thanks for sharing this, Doris.


    1. Sarah, you are welcome. Pablo is also a beautifull weaver of magic words. When I read poetry, it’s like hearing the wind in the trees, the waves crashing on shore and a childs whisper in my ear. Doris

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Thanks for including Spoon River poem. Loved reading them back in school. Reminds me of the play ‘Our Town.’ Back in Central Ohio during my first newspaper job, a fellow reporter and I went to a branch college (Ohio University-Lancaster) production based on Spoon River poems. I also went to a Kenyon College production of Sylvia Plath poetry, and poet/author James Dickey speak on the main campus of Ohio University.


    1. Mike, to me poetry is our modern day equalivent of Shakespeare when performed on stage. Spoon River has always been a favorite, and Galesburg is just up the road a bit from where I grew up. Poetry, when done well, is music being painted with words. So glad you enjoy Spoon River. Doris


  12. Doris, Thanks for sharing. I have never been one to enjoy poetry, but I did enjoy reading your post. This is the first time I have read poetry in years. The last time was at a writers group meeting. It was my first meeting and when it was my turn to read it was a poem. I sat there in a room full of strangers reading line by line. As I was reading I was picturing a man and a woman making love. I couldn’t believe I was reading it out loud in front of strangers. When I was done the room was silent for several minutes. Then the author asked if we could picture her falling off a cliff and him saving her. I kept my mouth shut since that wasn’t even close to what I was picturing.


    1. SJ, I can just see you in that experience. Poetry, by its very nature is so open to interpretation. Personally, I like your version better than the author, even though I don’t know the poem.

      I am glad you enjoy my post. I do have great fun writing them. Doris

      Liked by 1 person

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