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Famous Books Poems by Famous Poets

These are examples of famous Books poems written by some of the greatest and most-well-known modern and classical poets. PoetrySoup is a great educational poetry resource of famous books poems. These examples illustrate what a famous books poem looks like and its form, scheme, or style (where appropriate).

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by Pope, Alexander
...han does 'em good,
As Bodies perish through Excess of Blood.

Others for Language all their Care express,
And value Books, as Women Men, for Dress:
Their Praise is still--The Stile is excellent:
The Sense, they humbly take upon Content.
Words are like Leaves; and where they most abound,
Much Fruit of Sense beneath is rarely found.
False Eloquence, like the Prismatic Glass,
Its gawdy Colours spreads on ev'ry place;
The Face of Nature was no more Survey,
All glares ...Read more of this...

by Levy, D A
we tried to save
pressed in books
like flowers from
a sun warmed day
years later to
open yellowing pages
to find those same
kisses - wilted and dry....Read more of this...

by Sexton, Anne
..., la de dah. 
The trouble with being a woman, Skeezix, 
is being a little girl in the first place. 
Not all the books of the world will change that. 
I have swallowed an orange, being woman. 
You have swallowed a ruler, being man. 
Yet waiting to die we are the same thing. 
Jehovah pleasures himself with his axe 
before we are both overthrown. 
Skeezix, you are me. La de dah. 
You grow a beard but our drool is identical. 

Forgive us, F...Read more of this...

by Byron, George (Lord)
...of that dream? 
Alas! he told not — but he did awake 
To curse the wither'd heart that would not break. 


Books, for his volume heretofore was Man, 
With eye more curious he appear'd to scan, 
And oft, in sudden mood, for many a day 
From all communion he would start away: 
And then, his rarely call'd attendants said, 
Through night's long hours would sound his hurried tread 
O'er the dark gallery, where his fathers frown'd 
In rude but antique portraiture aroun...Read more of this...

by Frost, Robert
...tle men (it's Massachusetts speaking). 
And when I asked to know what ailed the people,
She said, "Go read your own books and find out."
I may as well confess myself the author
Of several books against the world in general.
To take them as against a special state 
Or even nation's to restrict my meaning.
I'm what is called a sensibilitist,
Or otherwise an environmentalist.
I refuse to adapt myself a mite
To any change from hot to cold, from wet 
To dry, fr...Read more of this...

by Whitman, Walt
...we not grovell’d here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes? 
Have we not darken’d and dazed ourselves with books long enough? 

Sail forth! steer for the deep waters only! 
Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me;
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go, 
And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all. 

O my brave soul! 
O farther, farther sail! 
O daring joy, but safe! Are they not all the seas of God?
O farther, farther, far...Read more of this...

by Tennyson, Alfred Lord in the street, and ask'd
That which I ask'd the woman in my dream.
Like her, he shook his head. "Show me the books!"
He dodged me with a long and loose account.
"The books, the books!" but he, he could not wait,
Bound on a matter he of life and death:
When the great Books (see Daniel seven and ten)
Were open'd, I should find he meant me well;
And then began to bloat himself, and ooze
All over with the fat affectionate smile
That makes the widow lean. "My de...Read more of this...

by Ashbery, John
...w nothing, dream but reveal nothing.
I feel the carousel starting slowly
And going faster and faster: desk, papers, books,
Photographs of friends, the window and the trees
Merging in one neutral band that surrounds
Me on all sides, everywhere I look.
And I cannot explain the action of leveling,
Why it should all boil down to one
Uniform substance, a magma of interiors.
My guide in these matters is your self,
Firm, oblique, accepting everything with the same
Wraith...Read more of this...

by Whitman, Walt
...all no longer take things at second or third hand, nor look through the
 eyes of the dead, nor feed on the spectres in books; 
You shall not look through my eyes either, nor take things from me: 
You shall listen to all sides, and filter them from yourself. 

I have heard what the talkers were talking, the talk of the beginning and the
But I do not talk of the beginning or the end. 

There was never any more inception than there is now, 
Nor any mor...Read more of this...

by Chesterton, G K
...alone is true."

And Guthrum shook his head but smiled,
For he was a mighty clerk,
And had read lines in the Latin books
When all the north was dark.

He said, "I am older than you, Ogier;
Not all things would I rend,
For whether life be bad or good
It is best to abide the end."

He took the great harp wearily,
Even Guthrum of the Danes,
With wide eyes bright as the one long day
On the long polar plains.

For he sang of a wheel returning,
And the mire trod ba...Read more of this...

by Service, Robert William
...t you, and understand. Keep my secret!" And so he died.

Smith was buried -- up soared his sales; lured you his books in every store;
Exquisite, whimsy, heart-wrung tales; men devoured them and craved for more.
So when it slyly got about Brown had a posthumous manuscript,
Jones, the publisher, sought him out, into his pocket deep he dipped.
"A thousand dollars?" Brown shook his head. "The story is not for sale, " he said.

Jones went away, then others ...Read more of this...

by Tennyson, Alfred Lord
...Grew to such evil that the holy cup 
Was caught away to Heaven, and disappeared.' 

To whom the monk: `From our old books I know 
That Joseph came of old to Glastonbury, 
And there the heathen Prince, Arviragus, 
Gave him an isle of marsh whereon to build; 
And there he built with wattles from the marsh 
A little lonely church in days of yore, 
For so they say, these books of ours, but seem 
Mute of this miracle, far as I have read. 
But who first saw the holy thing t...Read more of this...

by Carroll, Lewis
...aver confessed, with affectionate looks
 More eloquent even than tears,
It had learned in ten minutes far more than all books
 Would have taught it in seventy years.

They returned hand-in-hand, and the Bellman, unmanned
 (For a moment) with noble emotion,
Said "This amply repays all the wearisome days
 We have spent on the billowy ocean!"

Such friends, as the Beaver and Butcher became,
 Have seldom if ever been known;
In winter or summer, 'twas always the same--
 You co...Read more of this...

by Blake, William
...the metals 
into the expanse.
There they were reciev'd by Men who occupied the sixth
chamber, and took the forms of books & were arranged in


The Giants who formed this world into its sensual existence
and now seem to live in it in chains; are in truth. the causes
of its life & the sources of all activity, but the chains are,
the cunning of weak and tame minds. which have power to resist...Read more of this...

by Poe, Edgar Allan ember wrought its ghost upon the floor. 
Eagerly I wished the morrow;¡ªvainly I had sought to borrow 
From my books surcease of sorrow¡ªsorrow for the lost Lenore, 10 
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore: 
Nameless here for evermore. 

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain 
Thrilled me¡ªfilled me with fantastic terrors never felt before; 
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating 15 
"'...Read more of this...

by Wordsworth, William
...An Evening Scene on the Same Subject

Up! up! my Friend, and quit your books;
Or surely you'll grow double:
Up! up! my Friend, and clear your looks;
Why all this toil and trouble?

The sun, above the mountain's head,
A freshening lustre mellow
Through all the long green fields has spread,
His first sweet evening yellow.

Books! 'tis a dull and endless strife:
Come, hear the woodland linnet,
How sweet his music! ...Read more of this...

by Byron, George (Lord)
...don't see wherefore letters should not be 
Written without hands, since we daily view 
Them written without heads; and books, we see, 
Are fill'd as well without the latter too: 
And really till we fix on somebody 
For certain sure to claim them as his due, 
Their author, like the Niger's mouth, will bother 
The world to say if there be mouth or author. 


'And who and what art thou?' the Archangel said. 
'For that you may consult my title-page,' 
Replied thi...Read more of this...

by Miller, Alice Duer sudden yearning— 
The small white wooden house, the grass-green door, 
My father's study with the fire burning, 
And books piled on the floor. 
I saw the moon-faced clock that told the hours, 
The crimson Turkey carpet, worn and frayed, 
The heavy dishes—gold with birds and flowers— 
Fruits of the China trade. 
I saw the jack o' lanterns, friendly, frightening,
Shine from our gateposts every Hallow-e'en; 
I saw the oak tree, shattered once by lightning,
Twisted, st...Read more of this...

by Plath, Sylvia
Today the colleges are drunk with spring.
My black gown is a little funeral:
It shows I am serious.
The books I carry wedge into my side.
I had an old wound once, but it is healing.
I had a dream of an island, red with cries.
It was a dream, and did not mean a thing.

Dawn flowers in the great elm outside the house.
The swifts are back. They are shrieking like paper rockets.
I hear the sound of the hours
Widen and die i...Read more of this...

by Akhmatova, Anna
...a dead man,
Straight and grayhaired, on a bench,
As he did three years ago.
Thus the mice whet with their teeth
Books, thus the stearine candle
Leans its flame to the left.
And the odious tambourine
From the Nizhny Novgorod
Sings an uningenious song
Of my bitter happiness.
And the brightly painted
Dahlias stood straight
Along silver road.
Where are snails and wormwood.
Thus it was: Incarceration
Became second country,
And the first I cannot...Read more of this...

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