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Famous College Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Bukowski, Charles
...really missed those good
"You still like 'em?" 
"I get hot just looking."
"I could never make it with a college guy," said Connie. "They're too
soft, they're milktoast. And he kept his house clean. George , it was like having a maid.
He did it all. The place was spotless. You could eat beef stew right off the crapper. He
was antisceptic, that's what he was." 
"Drink up, you'll feel better." 
"And he couldn't make love." ...Read More

by Brackenridge, Hugh Henry
...solitudes forlorn, 
Death long sat brooding with his raven wing. 
Who many 'a structure of great fame have rais'd, 
College, and school, upon th' Atlantic coast, 
Or inland town, through ev'ry province wide, 
Which rising up like pyramids of fire, 
Give light and glory to the western world. 

These men we honour, and their names shall last 
Sweet in the mouths and memory of men; 
Or if vain man unconscious of their worth, 
Refuse a tear when in some lonely vale 
He s...Read More

by Robinson, Edwin Arlington
...for him. 
We met, and for a moment we were still— 
Together. But I was reading in his eyes 
More than I read at college or at law 
In years that followed. There was blankly nothing 
For me to say, if not that I was sorry; 
And that was more than hate would let me say— 
Whatever the truth might be. At last he spoke, 
And I could see the vengeance in his eyes,
And a cold sorrow—which, if I had seen 
Much more of it, might yet have mastered me. 
But I would s...Read More

by Browning, Robert
...ight bring, so despise me, as I say. 

Now come, let's backward to the starting-place. 
See my way: we're two college friends, suppose. 
Prepare together for our voyage, then; 
Each note and check the other in his work,-- 
Here's mine, a bishop's outfit; criticize! 
What's wrong? why won't you be a bishop too? 

Why first, you don't believe, you don't and can't, 
(Not statedly, that is, and fixedly 
And absolutely and exclusively) 
In any revelation called divin...Read More

by Tebb, Barry

The winter, so do I; at fifty-four I must decide

For poetry, my sons educated just, one at Balliol

One at the Royal College, I have cast my lot

With Lady Luck, I own no property but a book.

In Roundhay’s Tropical World Nepalese Trumpets

Glow in red and yellow like mendicant priests,

The waterfall roars like Lodore and I am more

Myself here than anywhere.


The morning sun is melting

The dome of Leeds Town Hall,

Frost on Kirkstall Abbey stone

Is ...Read More

by Aldington, Richard
...t seven years. 

The long street we lived in 
Was duller than a drain 
And nearly as dingy. 
There were the big College 
And the pseudo-Gothic town-hall. 
There were the sordid provincial shops -- 
The grocer's, and the shops for women, 
The shop where I bought transfers, 
And the piano and gramaphone shop 
Where I used to stand 
Staring at the huge shiny pianos and at the pictures 
Of a white dog looking into a gramaphone. 

How dull and greasy and grey and s...Read More

by Ginsberg, Allen
 sure I came first"
This the crowd most surprised proud at ceremonial place of honor--
Then poets & musicians -- college boys' grunge bands -- age-old rock 
 star Beatles, faithful guitar accompanists, gay classical con-
 ductors, unknown high Jazz music composers, funky trum-
 peters, bowed bass & french horn black geniuses, folksinger 
 fiddlers with dobro tamborine harmonica mandolin auto-
 harp pennywhistles & kazoos
Next, artist Italian romantic realists schooled ...Read More

by Collins, Billy
...k marks, asterisks, and exclamation points
rain down along the sidelines.

And if you have managed to graduate from college
without ever having written "Man vs. Nature"
in a margin, perhaps now
is the time to take one step forward.

We have all seized the white perimeter as our own
and reached for a pen if only to show
we did not just laze in an armchair turning pages;
we pressed a thought into the wayside,
planted an impression along the verge.

Even Irish mo...Read More

by Emerson, Ralph Waldo
All their vocal muse affords,
These they turn in other fashion
Than the writer or the parson.
I can spare the college-bell,
And the learned lecture well.
Spare the clergy and libraries,
Institutes and dictionaries,
For the hardy English root
Thrives here unvalued underfoot.
Rude poets of the tavern hearth,
Squandering your unquoted mirth,
Which keeps the ground and never soars,
While Jake retorts and Reuben roars,
Tough and screaming as birch-bark,
Goes like...Read More

by Frost, Robert
...s the minute they set up as artists,
Before, that is, they are themselves accepted,
And boys the minute they get out of college.
I can't help thinking those are tests to go by.

And she has one I don't know what to call him,
Who comes from Philadelphia every year
With a great flock of chickens of rare breeds
He wants to give the educational
Advantages of growing almost wild
Under the watchful eye of hawk and eagle 
Dorkings because they're spoken of by Chaucer,
Sussex...Read More

by Browning, Robert you intend to acknowledge,
Why, honour them now! (ends my allocution)
Nor confer your degree when the folk leave college.


There's a fancy some lean to and others hate---
That, when this life is ended, begins
New work for the soul in another state,
Where it strives and gets weary, loses and wins:
Where the strong and the weak, this world's congeries,
Repeat in large what they practised in small,
Through life after life in unlimited series; 
Only the scale...Read More

by Brautigan, Richard
...e poles.


ERICA PEACE printed on them.

 Then this group of college- and high-school-trained Com-

munists, along with some Communist clergymen and their

Marxist-taught children, marched to San Francisco from

Sunnyvale, a Communist nerve center about forty miles away.

 It took them four days to walk to San Francisco. They

stopped overnight at various towns along the way, and slept

on the lawns of fellow ...Read More

by Brautigan, Richard

erica said.

 "I don't know, " I said. "She sang a lot. Maybe she was a

chorus girl who wanted to go to college or she was a rich

girl or they needed money for something or she did something

Whatever it was about, she sang! and sang! but I can't re-

member a God-damn word of it.

 "One afternoon after I had seen the Deanna Durbin movie

again, I went down to the Missouri River. Part of the Mis-

souri was frozen over. There was a railroad bridge...Read More

by Whittier, John Greenleaf
...mitten-blinded cat, 
Played cross-pins on my uncle's hat, 
Sang songs, and told us what befalls 
In classic Dartmouth's college halls. 
Born the wild Northern hills among, 
From whence his yeoman father wrung 
By patient toil subsistence scant, 
Not competence and yet not want, 
He early gained the power to pay 
His cheerful, self-reliant way; 
Could doff at ease his scholar's gown 
To peddle wares from town to town; 
Or through the long vacation's reach 
In lonely lowlan...Read More

by Masefield, John
...and Greek 
Have purple flaps on either cheek, 
A stately house, and time for knowledge, 
And gold to send your sons to college, 
That pleasant place, where getting learning 
Is also key to money earning. 
But quite your damndest want of grace 
Is what you do to save your face; 
The way you sit astride the gates 
By padding wages out of rates; 
Your Christmas gifts of shoddy blankets 
That every working soul may thank its 
Loving parson, loving squire 
Through whom he can...Read More

by Tennyson, Alfred Lord
...At break of day the College Portress came: 
She brought us Academic silks, in hue 
The lilac, with a silken hood to each, 
And zoned with gold; and now when these were on, 
And we as rich as moths from dusk cocoons, 
She, curtseying her obeisance, let us know 
The Princess Ida waited: out we paced, 
I first, and following through the porch that sang 
All round with laurel, issu...Read More

by Tennyson, Alfred Lord
...ild, and thither half 
The neighbouring borough with their Institute 
Of which he was the patron. I was there 
From college, visiting the son,--the son 
A Walter too,--with others of our set, 
Five others: we were seven at Vivian-place. 

And me that morning Walter showed the house, 
Greek, set with busts: from vases in the hall 
Flowers of all heavens, and lovelier than their names, 
Grew side by side; and on the pavement lay 
Carved stones of the Abbey-ruin in the p...Read More

by Johnson, Samuel
...form distorted justifies the fall,
90 And detestation rids th' indignant wall.


133 When first the college rolls receive his name,
134 The young enthusiast quits his ease for fame;
135 Through all his veins the fever of renown
136 Spreads from the strong contagion of the gown;
137 O'er Bodley's dome his future labours spread,
138 And Bacon's mansion trembles o'er his head.
139 Are these thy views? proceed, illustrious youth,
140 And virtue guard thee ...Read More

by Hughes, Langston
...hat simple?
I am twenty-two, colored, born in Winston-Salem.
I went to school there, then Durham, then here
to this college on the hill above Harlem.
I am the only colored student in my class.
The steps from the hill lead down into Harlem,
through a park, then I cross St. Nicholas,
Eighth Avenue, Seventh, and I come to the Y,
the Harlem Branch Y, where I take the elevator
up to my room, sit down, and write this page:

It's not easy to know what is true for you...Read More

by Piercy, Marge
...e a sports sedan. 
She is retooled, refitted and redesigned 
every decade. 
Cecile had been seduction itself in college. 
She wriggled through bars like a satin eel, 
her hips and ass promising, her mouth pursed 
in the dark red lipstick of desire. 

She visited in '68 still wearing skirts 
tight to the knees, dark red lipstick, 
while I danced through Manhattan in mini skirt, 
lipstick pale as apricot milk, 
hair loose as a horse's mane. Oh dear, 
I thoug...Read More

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