Browse the Best Contemporary Poems

The Ultimate Free Collection of Contemporary Poems

I once read that poetry is like sending a message in a bottle. It is a message that has traveled through time and distance to reach you, the reader.

And in that moment when you release that message from inside, don’t you feel like you are entering the secret places—the intimate places—of another as you read each poem? Rainer Maria Rilke once said, “I want to be with those who know secret things or else alone.”

This website lives in the spirit of Rilke’s words. Here the best contemporary poems are stored for you to discover. Here is where you will find poets that are also your best friends. Here you will also find the secrets of our modern lives. And while you wander through the intimate haunts of our contemporary poets, you may discover that secrets can be shared without ever being given away.

From Charles Bukowski to William Carlos Williams, you can explore the trappings of your own mind personified through the words of another. With all these poets in one place, imagine the places you will explore. Imagine wandering down the halls of a supermarket in California with Allen Ginsburg, only to find yourself standing by a proverbial red wheelbarrow, “glazed with rain / water / beside the white / chickens.”

Here is a collection of people with secrets. Let their words unravel before you like a silk tie and find out what messages are in store for you.

CONRAD AIKEN (76 Poems) SANDRA ALCOSSER (4 Poems) RICHARD ALDINGTON (24 Poems)
CLARIBEL ALEGRIA (4 Poems) ELIZABETH ALEXANDER (24 Poems) MEENA ALEXANDER (2 Poems)
WILL ALEXANDER (11 Poems) SHERMAN ALEXIE (6 Poems) AGHA SHAHID ALI (11 Poems)
YEHUDA AMICHAI (11 Poems) MICHAEL ANANIA (9 Poems) BRUCE ANDREWS (5 Poems)
MAYA ANGELOU (44 Poems) DAVID ANTIN (4 Poems) SIMON ARMITAGE (9 Poems)
JOHN ASHBERY (108 Poems) MARGARET ATWOOD (53 Poems) JIMMY SANTIAGO BACA (39 Poems)
DAVID BAKER (45 Poems) MARY JO BANG (22 Poems) AMIRI BARAKA (36 Poems)
JOSHUA BECKMAN (1 Poems) MARVIN BELL (136 Poems) HILAIRE BELLOC (46 Poems)
STEPHEN VINCENT BENET (19 Poems) APRIL BERNARD (5 Poems) CHARLES BERNSTEIN (22 Poems)
WENDELL BERRY (91 Poems) JOHN BERRYMAN (31 Poems) MEI-MEI BERSSENBRUGGE (28 Poems)
JILL BIALOSKY (5 Poems) FRANK BIDART (38 Poems) ELIZABETH BISHOP (48 Poems)
PAUL BLACKBURN (86 Poems) MICHAEL BLUMENTHAL (21 Poems) ROBERT BLY (89 Poems)
LOUISE BOGAN (40 Poems) CHRISTIAN BOK (7 Poems) EAVAN BOLAND (27 Poems)
ARNA BONTEMPS (7 Poems) PHILIP BOOTH (41 Poems) LAURE-ANNE BOSSELAAR (12 Poems)
RICHARD BRAUTIGAN (13 Poems) ANDRE BRETON (6 Poems) GEOFFREY BROCK (15 Poems)
JOSEPH BRODSKY (10 Poems) DAVID BROMIGE (6 Poems) GWENDOLYN BROOKS (69 Poems)
CHARLES BUKOWSKI (30 Poems) BASIL BUNTING (21 Poems) RALPH BURNS (13 Poems)
RAFAEL CAMPO (14 Poems) JULIE CARR (2 Poems) HAYDEN CARRUTH (313 Poems)
ANNE CARSON (81 Poems) JOSEPH CERAVOLO (5 Poems) LORNA DEE CERVANTES (16 Poems)
AIME CESAIRE (9 Poems) JOHN CIARDI (99 Poems) SANDRA CISNEROS (9 Poems)
LUCILLE CLIFTON (74 Poems) HENRI COLE (17 Poems) WANDA COLEMAN (21 Poems)
BILLY COLLINS (111 Poems) MARTHA COLLINS (16 Poems) JANE COOPER (11 Poems)
MALCOLM COWLEY (32 Poems) ROBERT CREELEY (365 Poems) COUNTEE CULLEN (40 Poems)
ROQUE DALTON (20 Poems) DONALD (GRADY) DAVIDSON (4 Poems) FRANK MARSHALL DAVIS (9 Poems)
JORDAN DAVIS (36 Poems) CECIL DAY LEWIS (24 Poems) MADELINE DEFREES (30 Poems)
TOI DERRICOTTE (28 Poems) ROBERT DESNOS (30 Poems) EMANUEL DI PASQUALE (2 Poems)
DIANE DI PRIMA (31 Poems) JAMES DICKEY (67 Poems) STEPHEN DOBYNS (84 Poems)
EDWARD DORN (39 Poems) MARK DOTY (49 Poems) RITA DOVE (90 Poems)
NORMAN DUBIE (78 Poems) CAROL ANN DUFFY (42 Poems) ALAN DUGAN (71 Poems)
DENISE DUHAMEL (81 Poems) HENRY DUMAS (18 Poems) ROBERT DUNCAN (115 Poems)
LARRY EIGNER (46 Poems) LYNN EMANUEL (33 Poems) CLAYTON ESHLEMAN (30 Poems)
WILLIAM EVERSON (11 Poems) FAIZ AHMED FAIZ (11 Poems) KENNETH FEARING (41 Poems)
IRVING FELDMAN (28 Poems) LAWRENCE FERLINGHETTI (69 Poems) DAVID FERRY (36 Poems)
EDWARD FIELD (25 Poems) ANNIE FINCH (60 Poems) NICK FLYNN (12 Poems)
CALVIN FORBES (10 Poems) CAROLYN FORCHE (24 Poems) CAROL FROST (48 Poems)
ROBERT FROST (371 Poems) ALICE FULTON (47 Poems) TESS GALLAGHER (48 Poems)
JAMES GALVIN (71 Poems) FORREST GANDER (24 Poems) JACK GILBERT (23 Poems)
ALLEN GINSBERG (141 Poems) PETER GIZZI (49 Poems) ALBERT GOLDBARTH (121 Poems)
JORIE GRAHAM (32 Poems) LINDA GREGERSON (36 Poems) LINDA GREGG (81 Poems)
EAMON GRENNAN (51 Poems) BARBARA GUEST (96 Poems) MARILYN HACKER (41 Poems)
RACHEL HADAS (41 Poems) KIMIKO HAHN (22 Poems) JOHN HAINES (33 Poems)
DONALD HALL (141 Poems) DANIEL HALPERN (25 Poems) JOY HARJO (27 Poems)
MICHAEL S. HARPER (34 Poems) MATTHEA HARVEY (33 Poems) ROBERT HASS (31 Poems)
TERRANCE HAYES (33 Poems) ANTHONY HECHT (51 Poems) LYN HEJINIAN (28 Poems)
ERNEST HEMINGWAY (20 Poems) ESSEX HEMPHILL (6 Poems) JUAN FELIPE HERRERA (27 Poems)
BOB HICOK (9 Poems) SCOTT HIGHTOWER (13 Poems) NAZIM HIKMET (10 Poems)
GEOFFREY HILL (48 Poems) EDWARD HIRSCH (31 Poems) JACK HIRSCHMAN (6 Poems)
JANE HIRSHFIELD (41 Poems) TONY HOAGLAND (64 Poems) JOHN HOLLANDER (154 Poems)
ANSELM HOLLO (57 Poems) RICHARD HOWARD (32 Poems) FANNY HOWE (34 Poems)
SUSAN HOWE (9 Poems) ANDREW HUDGINS (62 Poems) LYNDA HULL (26 Poems)
DAVID IGNATOW (113 Poems) JOSEPHINE JACOBSEN (52 Poems) MARK JARMAN (53 Poems)
RANDALL JARRELL (97 Poems) ROBINSON JEFFERS (175 Poems) DENIS JOHNSON (24 Poems)
GEORGIA DOUGLAS JOHNSON (143 Poems) JAMES WELDON JOHNSON (76 Poems) PETER JOHNSON (45 Poems)
DAVID JONES (2 Poems) HETTIE JONES (4 Poems) JUDY JORDAN (12 Poems)
JUNE JORDAN (58 Poems) LAWRENCE JOSEPH (31 Poems) JAMES JOYCE (60 Poems)
DONALD JUSTICE (63 Poems) BOB KAUFMAN (28 Poems) WELDON KEES (40 Poems)
ROBERT KELLY (35 Poems) JANE KENYON (75 Poems) GALWAY KINNELL (87 Poems)
MARY KINZIE (25 Poems) CAROLYN KIZER (91 Poems) AUGUST KLEINZAHLER (22 Poems)
ETHERIDGE KNIGHT (27 Poems) KENNETH KOCH (60 Poems) WAYNE KOESTENBAUM (15 Poems)
TED KOOSER (96 Poems) JOAN LARKIN (18 Poems) PHILIP LARKIN (69 Poems)
ANN LAUTERBACH (24 Poems) DORIANNE LAUX (71 Poems) DAVID LEHMAN (51 Poems)
DENISE LEVERTOV (175 Poems) JAN HELLER LEVI (10 Poems) PHILIP LEVINE (168 Poems)
LARRY LEVIS (28 Poems) ADA LIMON (3 Poems) TIMOTHY LIU (82 Poems)
AUDRE LORDE (37 Poems) ROBERT LOWELL (54 Poems) MINA LOY (22 Poems)
THOMAS LUX (56 Poems) ARCHIBALD MACLEISH (79 Poems) DEREK MAHON (23 Poems)
CLARENCE MAJOR (108 Poems) PAUL MARIANI (16 Poems) EDWIN MARKHAM (87 Poems)
CHARLES MARTIN (26 Poems) CATE MARVIN (19 Poems) EDGAR LEE MASTERS (407 Poems)
KHALED MATTAWA (25 Poems) WILLIAM MATTHEWS (117 Poems) GLYN MAXWELL (25 Poems)
BERNADETTE MAYER (20 Poems) ROBERT MCALMON (13 Poems) PHYLLIS MCGINLEY (34 Poems)
HEATHER MCHUGH (47 Poems) CLAUDE MCKAY (59 Poems) JAMES MCMICHAEL (12 Poems)
WILLIAM MEREDITH (64 Poems) EVE MERRIAM (47 Poems) JOSEPHINE MILES (97 Poems)
E. ETHELBERT MILLER (32 Poems) STEPHEN MITCHELL (6 Poems) EUGENIO MONTALE (48 Poems)
MARIANNE MOORE (131 Poems) PAT MORA (44 Poems) HILDA MORLEY (4 Poems)
THYLIAS MOSS (17 Poems) ANDREW MOTION (20 Poems) LISEL MUELLER (76 Poems)
EDWIN MUIR (60 Poems) PAUL MULDOON (53 Poems) HARRYETTE MULLEN (34 Poems)
EILEEN MYLES (26 Poems) MARILYN NELSON (51 Poems) JOHN FREDERICK NIMS (78 Poems)
ALICE NOTLEY (43 Poems) NAOMI SHIHAB NYE (155 Poems) SHARON OLDS (115 Poems)
MARY OLIVER (103 Poems) CHARLES OLSON (31 Poems) MICHAEL ONDAATJE (27 Poems)
GEORGE OPPEN (85 Poems) JOEL OPPENHEIMER (6 Poems) GREGORY ORR (86 Poems)
SIMON J. ORTIZ (23 Poems) ALICIA SUSKIN OSTRIKER (111 Poems) RON PADGETT (78 Poems)
MICHAEL PALMER (12 Poems) ERIC PANKEY (30 Poems) DOROTHY PARKER (78 Poems)
LINDA PASTAN (173 Poems) KENNETH PATCHEN (55 Poems) OCTAVIO PAZ (41 Poems)
MOLLY PEACOCK (46 Poems) CARL PHILLIPS (42 Poems) MARGE PIERCY (137 Poems)
ROBERT PINSKY (60 Poems) SYLVIA PLATH (248 Poems) STANLEY PLUMLY (44 Poems)
MARIE PONSOT (39 Poems) EZRA POUND (228 Poems) MINNIE BRUCE PRATT (31 Poems)
JACK PRELUTSKY (78 Poems) WYATT PRUNTY (32 Poems) CARL RAKOSI (31 Poems)
CLAUDIA RANKINE (17 Poems) JOHN CROWE RANSOM (30 Poems) BARBARA RAS (9 Poems)
LIAM RECTOR (21 Poems) DONALD REVELL (41 Poems) KENNETH REXROTH (237 Poems)
CHARLES REZNIKOFF (61 Poems) DAVID RIVARD (23 Poems) EDWIN ARLINGTON ROBINSON (238 Poems)
THEODORE ROETHKE (96 Poems) MARTHA RONK (14 Poems) LEE ANN RORIPAUGH (24 Poems)
ISAAC ROSENBERG (77 Poems) JEROME ROTHENBERG (45 Poems) MARY RUEFLE (28 Poems)
MURIEL RUKEYSER (142 Poems) KAY RYAN (101 Poems) MICHAEL RYAN (46 Poems)
IRA SADOFF (57 Poems) SONIA SANCHEZ (37 Poems) CARL SANDBURG (396 Poems)
GEORGE SANTAYANA (169 Poems) SHEROD SANTOS (33 Poems) STEPHEN SARTARELLI (2 Poems)
LESLIE SCALAPINO (4 Poems) ANDREW SCHELLING (1 Poems) JAMES SCHUYLER (49 Poems)
DELMORE SCHWARTZ (46 Poems) LLOYD SCHWARTZ (33 Poems) FREDERICK SEIDEL (16 Poems)
ANNE SEXTON (271 Poems) NTOZAKE SHANGE (16 Poems) KARL SHAPIRO (90 Poems)
BRENDA SHAUGHNESSY (37 Poems) LAURIE SHECK (15 Poems) REGINALD SHEPHERD (50 Poems)
JASON SHINDER (15 Poems) ELENI SIKELIANOS (6 Poems) LESLIE MARMON SILKO (8 Poems)
RON SILLIMAN (34 Poems) CHARLES SIMIC (122 Poems) LOUIS SIMPSON (60 Poems)
EDITH SITWELL (119 Poems) TOM SLEIGH (38 Poems) KENNETH SLESSOR (11 Poems)
CHARLIE SMITH (51 Poems) FLORENCE SMITH (2 Poems) WILLIAM JAY SMITH (107 Poems)
GARY SNYDER (93 Poems) DAVID ST. JOHN (40 Poems) PRIMUS ST. JOHN (22 Poems)
FRANK STANFORD (36 Poems) GERTRUDE STEIN (37 Poems) GERALD STERN (106 Poems)
WALLACE STEVENS (187 Poems) ANNE STEVENSON (53 Poems) SUSAN STEWART (33 Poems)
RUTH STONE (112 Poems) MARK STRAND (99 Poems) MARION STROBEL (1 Poems)
VIRGIL SUAREZ (14 Poems) KAREN SWENSON (158 Poems) ARTHUR SZE (46 Poems)
WISLAWA SZYMBORSKA (51 Poems) DOROTHEA TANNING (13 Poems) JAMES TATE (105 Poems)
BRIAN TEARE (13 Poems) SARA TEASDALE (399 Poems) MICHAEL TEIG (8 Poems)
ELAINE TERRANOVA (8 Poems) DYLAN THOMAS (51 Poems) JEAN TOOMER (26 Poems)
TOMAS TRANSTROMER (44 Poems) CHASE TWICHELL (44 Poems) MIGUEL DE UNAMUNO (10 Poems)
JEAN STARR UNTERMEYER (26 Poems) LOUIS UNTERMEYER (129 Poems) JOHN UPDIKE (205 Poems)
JEAN VALENTINE (108 Poems) PAUL VALERY (16 Poems) CESAR VALLEJO (59 Poems)
MONA VAN DUYN (55 Poems) REETIKA VAZIRANI (18 Poems) PAUL VERLAINE (52 Poems)
ELLEN BRYANT VOIGT (40 Poems) KAREN VOLKMAN (10 Poems) DAVID WAGONER (109 Poems)
DIANE WAKOSKI (36 Poems) DEREK WALCOTT (46 Poems) ANNE WALDMAN (92 Poems)
LIZ WALDNER (15 Poems) KEITH WALDROP (18 Poems) ALICE WALKER (30 Poems)
ROBERT PENN WARREN (64 Poems) ROSANNA WARREN (16 Poems) RACHEL WETZSTEON (26 Poems)
SUSAN WHEELER (17 Poems) JOHN WIENERS (37 Poems) DARA WIER (23 Poems)
RICHARD WILBUR (149 Poems) JONATHAN WILLIAMS (15 Poems) WILLIAM CARLOS WILLIAMS (303 Poems)
ELEANOR WILNER (85 Poems) YVOR WINTERS (14 Poems) REBECCA WOLFF (11 Poems)
SUSAN WOOD (9 Poems) JAMES WRIGHT (82 Poems) JAY WRIGHT (26 Poems)
ROBERT WRIGLEY (45 Poems) MARK WUNDERLICH (26 Poems) ELINOR WYLIE (63 Poems)
JOHN YAU (20 Poems) DAVID YOUNG (7 Poems) DEAN YOUNG (49 Poems)
KEVIN YOUNG (19 Poems) ADAM ZAGAJEWSKI (15 Poems) BILL ZAVATSKY (6 Poems)
LOUIS ZUKOFSKY (17 Poems)