100 Essential Modern Poems

Edited by Joseph Parisi

The greatest poems written in English over the past century,

memorable masterpieces to read, reread, and enjoy

Selected and introduced by Joseph Parisi, this collection of poems brings together the greatest poems of all the classic authors, along with the choicest works by today’s artists in America and abroad. This comprehensive anthology features the poems that have best expressed the spirit of our times and helped create modern culture.

The general introduction to the book and the prefatory remarks to each poet’s work provide authoritative biographical and critical information. 

The 80 poets who appear in the book include:


"From the immense number of excellent poems written over roughly the last one hundred years, a large group of 'semi-finalists' seemed worthy candidates for a collection to be titled 100 Essential Modern Poems. But in the end, after much deliberation, the hundred that emerged as the most valuable fulfill certain basic criteria—the three Ms, if you will—superbly well. First, of course, they are modern, in the broadest sense. Second, they are meaningful, they have significant things to say—provocative and profound ideas, wise and frequently witty observations—about the human condition. Finally, they are memorable: what the poets say is expressed in extraordinarily well-chosen words, in striking images and arresting metaphors, turns of phrase that stick—language one not only keeps in mind but takes to heart, and might want to learn (as the idiom has it) by heart."

From the introduction to 100 Essential Modern Poems

Emily Dickinson
Christina Rossetti
Emma Lazarus
Amy Lowell
Mina Loy
Sara Teasdale
Elinor Wylie
H.D. (Hilda Doolittle)
Edith Sitwell
Marianne Moore
Edna St. Vincent Millay
Dorothy Parker
Louise Bogan
Stevie Smith
Phyllis McGinley
Elizabeth Bishop                          May Swensen

Muriel Rukeyser
Ruth Stone
Judith Wright
Gwendolyn Brooks
Amy Clampitt
Mona Van Duyn
Denise Levertov
Lisel Mueller
Carolyn Kizer
Maxine Kumin
Anne Sexton
Adrienne Rich
Sylvia Plath
Linda Pastan
Fleur Adcock                           Audrey Lorde                             Mary Oliver

William Butler Yeats
Edwin Arlington Robinson
Robert Frost
Carl Sandburg
Wallace Stevens
William Carlos Williams
Ezra Pound
Hilda Doolittle
Robinson Jeffers
Marianne Moore
T.S. Eliot
Rupert Brooke
Siegfried Sassoon
Isaac Rosenberg
Wilfred Owen
Edna St. Vincent Millay
Dorothy Parker
E.E. Cummings
Robert Graves
Hart Crane
Langston Hughes
Ogden Nash
Stevie Smith
Patrick Kavanaugh
Robert Penn Warren
W.H. Auden                               Louis MacNeice

Theodore Roethke
Elizabeth Bishop
Karl Shapiro
John Berryman
Randall Jarrell
Dylan Thomas
William Stafford
Gwendolyn Brooks
Robert Lowell
William Meredith
Howard Nemerov
Richard Wilbur
Philip Larkin
James Dickey
Anthony Hecht
Denise Levertov
Donald Justice
Kenneth Koch
A.R. Ammons
David Wagoner
Allen Ginsberg
James Merrill
Frank O'Hara
W. D. Snodgrass
John Ashbery                          Galway Kinnell                            W.S. Merwin

100 Essential Modern Poems by Women

Edited by Joseph Parisi and Kathleen Welton

The greatest poems written in English by women over the past 150 years,

memorable masterpieces to read, reread, and enjoy

Benjamin Franklin Award Finalist

100 Essential Modern Poems by Women presents memorable masterpieces by great women writers, tracing the evolution of the art in English over the past 150 years. Like the widely praised 100 Essential Modern Poems, this accessible guide is full of wisdom and insights that will delight, engage, and inspire readers—whatever their gender, age or interests. Selected by Joseph Parisi, former longtime editor of Poetry magazine, in collaboration with veteran publishing executive Kathleen Welton, this brilliant collection features such acclaimed artists as Emily Dickinson, Elizabeth Bishop, Lucille Clifton, Maxine Kumin, Audre Lorde, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Marianne Moore, Mary Oliver, Linda Pastan, Marge Piercy, Sylvia Plath, Kay Ryan, and May Swenson. But the anthology also turns attention again to a number of fine poets once celebrated then unjustly neglected, and includes several contemporary writers whose unusual talents and unique points of view will surprise and stimulate (and amuse) readers meeting them for the first time.

The 49 poets who appear in the book include:

Marge Piercy
Lucille Clifton
Margaret Atwood
Marilyn Hacker
Sharon Olds
Louise Glück
Ellen Bryant Voigt
Nikki Giovanni
Eavan Boland
Kay Ryan
Jane Kenyon
Heather McHugh
Carolyn Forché
Rita Dove
Louise Erdrich

James Wright
Philip Levine
Anne Sexton
Thom Gunn
Adrienne Rich
Ted Hughes
Derek Walcott
Geoffrey Hill
Sylvia Plath
Linda Pastan
Mark Strand
Charles Wright
Mary Oliver
C.K. Williams
Charles Simic
Seamus Heaney
Stephen Dunn
Billy Collins
William Matthews
Sharon Olds
Eavan Boland
Kay Ryan
Yusef Komunyakaa
Jane Kenyon
Paul Muldoon
Rita Dove