4 Poets That Inspire

Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 9.05.12 PMApril is National Poetry Month!! This week’s Friday Findings shares the work of four poets that inspire me.

Two of the poets are contemporary writers and are still living. The other two poets wrote during the early 20th century. Accompanying a few facts about each poet is a poem that resonates strongly with me.

Please share any poets or poems that inspire you in the comments!

Mary Oliver (1935-Present)

Mary Oliver spoke with Krista Tippet for On Being in October of last year. If you want to know more about Oliver and be inspired by her distinct view of the world, listen to the episode! A lot of Oliver’s poetry focuses on nature.

When I Am Among the TreesIMG_6269

When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.

I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.

Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”


e.e. cummings (1894-1962)

e.e. cummings was the poet who introduced me to how wonderful poetry could be. His work intrigued me because it did not always adhere to the grammatical conventions I was being taught in school. To learn more about my love of e.e. cummings, read my spring poem post.

[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)


Apollinaire (1880-1918)

"Il pleut" as it was originally written.
“Il pleut” as it was originally written.

Apollinaire is the one non-English poet in the group. I was first introduced to his work in college during a French literature

course. He fought in World War I and has been credited with influencing the artistic movements of Futurism, Cubism, and Surrealism.

Il pleut

Il pleut des voix de femmes comme si elles étaient mortes même dans le souvenir
c’est vous aussi qu’il pleur merveilleuses rencontres de ma vie ô gouttelettes
et ces nuages cabrés se prennent à hennir tout comme un univers de villes auriculaires
écoute s’il pleut tandis que le regret et le dédain pleurent une ancienne musique
écoute tomber les liens qui te retiennent en haut et en bas


David Whyte (1955-Present)

David Whyte is a new poet to me. I discovered his work this week! Although his words are new to me, I was instantly enamored. He also spoke with Krista Tippet for an On Being episode.

No one told me

No one told me about seeing,
seeing brought me
loss and a darkness I could not hold.

No one told me about writing
or speaking.
Speaking and writing poetry
I unsheathed the sharp edge
of experience that led me here.

No one told me
it could not be put away.
I was told once, only,
in a whisper,
“The blade is so sharp—
It cuts things together
—not apart.”

This is no comfort.
My future is full of blood,
from being blindfold,
hands outstretched,
feeling a way along its firm edge.

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