American Life in Poetry Homepage

Photo of Ted Kooser, Poet Laureate of the United States 2004-2006
  • American Life in Poetry provides newspapers and online publications with a free weekly column featuring contemporary American poems. The sole mission of this project is to promote poetry: American Life in Poetry seeks to create a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture. There are no costs for reprinting the columns; we do require that you register your publication here and that the text of the column be reproduced without alteration.

    The poem in each column is brief and will be enjoyable and enlightening to readers of newspapers and online publications. Each week, a new column will be posted. Registered publications will receive new columns by email. Our archive of previous columns is also available for publication.

  • American Life in Poetry: Column 712

    Until about a hundred years ago, the worth of a poem was measured by how noble and elevated was its subject and its manner of delivery, but with the appearance of modernism all hell broke loose and suddenly there were all sorts of subjects one had license to write about. Here's an example of a fine contemporary poem with a richly detailed subject that no doubt wouldn't have seen the light of day in the 1880s or '90s. It's by Sally Van Doren, who lives in New York, from her 2017 book from Louisiana State University Press, entitled Promise.

    Read the column