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Famous Chicago Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Shapiro, Karl
...In the mid-city, under an oiled sky,
I lay in a garden of such dusky green
It seemed the dregs of the imagination.
Hedged round by elegant spears of iron fence
My face became a moon to absent suns.
A low heat beat upon my reading face;
There rose no roses in that gritty place
But blue-gray lilacs hung their tassels out.
Hard zinnias and ugly ma...Read More

by Clampitt, Amy once.
Cousins in Wisconsin, one of whom phoned her from a candy 
store, out of the blue, while she was living in Chicago.
 What had brought her there, or when, remained unclear.

As did much else. We'd met in church. I noticed first
a big, soaring soprano with a wobble in it, then 
the thickly wreathed and braided crimp in the mouse-
gold coiffure. Old? Young? She was of no age.
Through rimless lenses she looked out of a child's,
or a doll's, gl...Read More

by Knight, Etheridge
With the sun shining in her eyes.
And I headed North
As straight as the Wild Goose Flies,
I been to Detroit & Chicago
Been to New York city too.
I been to Detroit & Chicago
Been to New York city too.
Said I done strolled all those funky avenues
I'm still the same old black boy with the same old blues.
Going back to Mississippi
This time to stay for good
Going back to Mississippi
This time to stay for good-
Gonna be free in Mississippi
Or dead in the Miss...Read More

by Field, Eugene
...Arthure and ye rest:
"Tell them," she quod, "we shall return to them whenas we've made
This little deal we have with ye Chicago Bourde of Trade."...Read More

by Ginsberg, Allen
...t us alive. The Russia's power 
 mad. She wants to take our cars from out our 
Her wants to grab Chicago. Her needs a Red Readers' 
 Digest. Her wants our auto plants in Siberia. 
 Him big bureaucracy running our fillingsta-
That no good. Ugh. Him make Indians learn read. 
 Him need big black niggers. Hah. Her make us 
 all work sixteen hours a day. Help. 
America this is quite serious. 
America t...Read More

by Moody, William Vaughn
...swego to Sault Sainte-Marie, 
And on to where the Pictured Rocks are hung, 
And yonder where, gigantic, wilful, young, 
Chicago sitteth at the northwest gates, 
With restless violent hands and casual tongue 
Moulding her mighty fates, 
The Lakes shall robe them in ethereal sheen; 
And like a larger sea, the vital green 
Of springing wheat shall vastly be outflung 
Over Dakota and the prairie states. 
By desert people immemorial 
On Arizonan mesas shall be done 
Dim rites ...Read More

by Whitman, Walt
...eet modern discoveries, calibers, facts face to face?
What does it mean to me? to American persons, progresses, cities? Chicago, Kanada,
 the planter, Yankee, Georgian, native, immigrant, sailors, squatters, old States, new
Does it encompass all The States, and the unexceptional rights of all the men and women of
 earth? (the genital impulse of These States;) 
Does it see behind the apparent custodians, the real custodians, standing, menacing,
 silen...Read More

by Levine, Philip
...he President 
will answer with words she 
cannot remember having 
spoken ever to anyone.


She calls Chicago, but no one 
is home. The operator asks 
for another number but still 
no one answers. Together 
they try twenty-one numbers, 
and at each no one is ever home. 
"Can I call Baltimore?" she asks. 
She can, but she knows no one 
in Baltimore, no one in 
St. Louis, Boston, Washington. 
She imagines herself standing 
before the gl...Read More

by Hughes, Langston, the strength, the will,
And the way to build America.
Now it is Me here, and You there.
Now it's Manhattan, Chicago,
Seattle, New Orleans,
Boston and El Paso-
Now it's the U.S.A.

A long time ago, but not too long ago, a man said:
His name was Jefferson. There were slaves then,
But in their hearts t...Read More

by Ginsberg, Allen
...Mexico leaving 
 behind nothing but the shadow of dungarees 
 and the lava and ash of poetry scattered in fire 
 place Chicago, 
who reappeared on the West Coast investigating the 
 F.B.I. in beards and shorts with big pacifist 
 eyes sexy in their dark skin passing out incom- 
 prehensible leaflets, 
who burned cigarette holes in their arms protesting 
 the narcotic tobacco haze of Capitalism, 
who distributed Supercommunist pamphlets in Union 
 Square weeping a...Read More

by Pinsky, Robert
...Needed them to vote for what was right, their vote
Could make a country their children could return to

From London and Chicago. The moved old people
Applauded wildly, and the speaker's friend
Whispered to the journalist, "It's the Belgian Army

Joke come to life." I wish I could tell it
To Elliot. In the Belgian Army, the feud
Between the Flemings and Walloons grew vicious,

So out of hand the army could barely function.
Finally one commander assembled his me...Read More

by Whitman, Walt
...ey shall enjoy materialism and the sight of products—they shall enjoy the sight of
 beef, lumber, bread-stuffs, of Chicago, the great city; 
They shall train themselves to go in public to become orators and oratresses; 
Strong and sweet shall their tongues be—poems and materials of poems shall come from
 lives—they shall be makers and finders; 
Of them, and of their works, shall emerge divine conveyers, to convey gospels; 
Characters, events, retrospections, shall...Read More

by Brautigan, Richard

on it.


 Trout Fishing in America Shorty




C/O Nelson Algren


 And there would be stickers all over the crate, saying:




 And Trout Fishing in America Shorty, grumbling, puking

and cursing in his crate would travel across America, from

San Francisco to Chicago.

 And Trout Fishing in America ...Read More

by Rumi, Jalal ad-Din Muhammad A.J.Arberry ‘Mystical Poems of Rumi’ The University of Chicago Press 1991  Links">Rumi Homepage ...Read More

by Gluck, Louise
...I became a criminal when I fell in love.
Before that I was a waitress.

I didn't want to go to Chicago with you.
I wanted to marry you, I wanted
Your wife to suffer.

I wanted her life to be like a play
In which all the parts are sad parts.

Does a good person
Think this way? I deserve

Credit for my courage--

I sat in the dark on your front porch.
Everything was clear to me:
If your wife wouldn't let you go
That proved she didn't lov...Read More

by Whitman, Walt
...I bathed on the beach of the Eastern Sea, and again on the beach of the Western Sea; 
As I roam’d the streets of inland Chicago—whatever streets I have roam’d;
Or cities, or silent woods, or peace, or even amid the sights of war; 
Wherever I have been, I have charged myself with contentment and triumph. 

I sing the Equalities, modern or old, 
I sing the endless finales of things; 
I say Nature continues—Glory continues;
I praise with electric voice; 
For I do not see one...Read More

by Whitman, Walt
...plashing my bare feet in the edge of the summer ripples, on Paumanok’s
Crossing the prairies—dwelling again in Chicago—dwelling in every
Observing shows, births, improvements, structures, arts, 
Listening to the orators and the oratresses in public halls, 
Of and through The States, as during life—each man and woman my neighbor,
The Louisianian, the Georgian, as near to me, and I as near to him and her, 
The Mississippian and Arkansian yet with me—and I yet w...Read More

by Levine, Philip
...a Taurus;
the woman at the counter was bored or crazy:
Did I want company? she asked; she knew every road
from here to Chicago. She had a slight accent,
Dutch or German, long black hair, and one frozen eye.
I considered but decided to go alone,
determined to find what he had never found.
Slowly the autumn morning warmed, flocks of starlings
rose above the vacant fields and blotted out the sun.
I drove on until I found the grove of apple trees
heavy with fruit...Read More

by Sandburg, Carl
...ike Kalamazoo.

The trains come in from the east and hoot for the crossings,
And buzz away to the peach country and Chicago to the west
Or they come from the west and shoot on to the Battle Creek breakfast bazaars
And the speedbug heavens of Detroit.

“I hear America, I hear, what do I hear?”
Said a loafer lagging along on the sidewalks of Kalamazoo,
Lagging along and asking questions, reading signs.

Oh yes, there is a town named Kalamazoo,
A spot on the map wher...Read More

by Piercy, Marge
...In flat America, in Chicago, 
Graceland cemetery on the German North Side. 
Forty feet of Corinthian candle 
celebrate Pullman embedded 
lonely raisin in a cake of concrete. 
The Potter Palmers float 
in an island parthenon. 
Barons of hogfat, railroads and wheat 
are postmarked with angels and lambs. 

But the Getty tomb: white, snow patterned 
in a triangle of...Read More

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