AP Literature First Semester Poetry List

Dolor
Theodore Roethke, office, locked room, recognition of sadness, straightforward description of problem of midcentury America.
The Waking
Theodore Roethke, what roles does fate play in what you feel and where you go, hyper-alert sleep into the nature of awareness and back out again.
If
Rudyard Kipling, father giving advice to son, self worth.
Sonnet 60
Will Shakespeare, Like as the Waves Make Towards the pebbled shore, explains the nature of time passing, grim reaper.
Sonnet 65
Will Shakespeare, Since Brass, nor Stone, nor Earth, nor Boundless Sea, all subject to death, how can beauty withstand that destructive force, this poem will allow time to stop destroying her beauty.
Sonnet 18
Will Shakespeare, Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day, compares her to a summers day but more beautiful, so long lives this poem so long as people are around to read it so long she will be immortal.
Sonnet 73
Will Shakespeare, That Time of year thou mayest in me behold, characterizes what he perceives as old age.
Mirror
Sylvia Plath, mirror’s/lake’s perspective (personification), woman is upset because in her watery reflection her past is drowning and a horrible future is rising to meet her.
I Wondered Lonely as a Cloud
William Wordsworth, lonely poet who learned to keep himself company by viewing nature as people.
Crossing the Swamp
Mary Oliver, (hyperboles, repetition, alliteration) struggle leads to opportunity, thinks the swamp is beautiful.
Lanyard
Billy Collins, compares his mother’s gift (life, health, love) to the lanyard he gives her that he made out of boredom which is not sentimental, nostalgic tone but he also recognizes his ungrateful behavior (appreciation poem).
History Teacher
Billy Collins, comical while also giving reader a sense of sadness, teacher teaches inadequate information, “ideal world”, poem tries to express the fact that children see the world how they want to while adults try to protect kids from danger and injustice, prolonging the truth.
Introduction to Poetry
Billy Collins, reading a poem is meant to be enjoyed and read for its beauty not to analyze it a pull it apart.
Becoming American
Vern Rutsala, immigrants moving to America, loss of tradition, shame in name/pronunciation, hardships and struggles, generations later they forget where they came from, wanting to go back in time, reverse amnesia.
A Story
Li-Young Lee, story time with his son, fear of losing his son in the future, full of growing up/regret/love/fear.
Those Winter Sundays
Robert Hayden, the love his father shows by working hard and providing for his family, never really saw the love hidden behind the rough face, appreciation poem.
The World is a Beautiful Place
Lawrence Ferlinghetti, sarcastic/cynical, discusses the “beauty” in the horrible place in which we live, how you want to view the world.
Constantly Risking Absurdity
Lawrence Ferlinghetti, writer=acrobat, acrobats go over people’ heads=poets sometimes go over people’s heads, what and artist creates.
A Roadside Stand
Robert Frost, people living in a poverty/small town, being taken over by heartless big money spenders, people tricked into wanting what they think they need but don’t really need.
The Road not Taken
Robert Frost, he took the road less traveled by, taking risks in life, not following what everyone tells you to do.
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
Robert Frost, admiring the woods and the snow and the beauty of nature, taking time out of his life to wanderlust and enjoy life for a split second.
Fire/Ice poem
Robert Frost, the destruction of the world will either be from fire or ice, either is fine with him, because either way we will die so why bother with specifics, focusing on what’s most important.
Nothing Gold can Stay
Robert Frost, Graden of Eden falling/dawn turning to day/nothing beautiful lasts forever.
America
Claude Mckay, immigrant taking in America for all that she (personification) is, accepting new culture and difficulties ahead with open and willing arms.
Dream Deferred
Langston Hughes, what happens to dreams when they die, do they shrivel up or do the explode or are they a heavy load (DOAS).
Happy Endings
Margret Atwood, all stories end the same exact way, it’s about how the story is told.
The Unknown Citizen
W.H. Aden, according to the government’s observation if you do everything by their rules you will be a “good” citizen, but you will also be unknown by their standards, haunting realization of life, we cam’t all be noticed (famous or infamous).
Tell the Truth but tell it Slant
Emily Dickson, when you’re telling the truth don’t be extremely blunt about it, but also don’t lie, sugar coat it, “truth must dazzle gradually or every man be blind.”
Crumbling is not an Instant’s Act
Emily Dickson, failure is not instant, even though we may not realize it, it takes time and comes slowly not all at once.
Oh me! Oh life!
Walt Witman, he question’s his own existence as well ours, what can we do better in life, as a whole.
No Man is an Island
John Donne, harmony with everyone, we make up a continent, we’re not secluded like islands, “and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.”
Well I have Lost You
Edna St. Vincent Millay, breaking up poem, “If I had loved you less or played you slyly
I might have held you for a summer more,
But at the cost of words I value highly,
And no such summer as the one before.
Should I outlive this anguish—and men do—
I shall have only good to say of you.”