Best Poems for College Students To Read and Analyze
Poetry can be a great way to express feelings that we have trouble articulating in prose. It consists of many forms, including sonnets, haikus, ballads, and limericks. Through rhyme and meter, poems often capture emotions through their artistic expression. Poems for college students can also be powerful tools for teaching life lessons or learning about complex topics. Many English teachers assign poetry analysis as part of their coursework so students can explore literature in a new light. If you’re looking for ideas on what poems to analyze for your class, you’ve come to the right place!
Poems about life
You’ll find that poems about life are the most popular type of poem on this list. They’re what people think of when they think about poetry, and for a good reason. Poems about life are about the human experience and the world we live in, which means they can be universal. They will always hold some meaning to you as an individual because they speak to your own experiences and those around you.
Here are some great examples of poems about life:
- To Those of You Alive in the Future by Dean Young
- Preface to a Twenty Volume Suicide Note by Amiri Baraka
- Starfish by Eleanor Lerman
- The Rolling Saint by Aimee Nezhukumatathil
- Making a Fist by Naomi Shihab Nye
- To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time by Robert Herrick
- Dust by Dorianne Laux
Poems about hope
Poems about hope can be a source of inspiration and motivation. Poems about hope can help you stay positive, especially in difficult times. They can also make you feel less alone as if someone else understands how you feel better than anyone else. If anything, poems about hope remind us that there are people who care about what happens to us, even though they may not always be around or available to talk to us when we need them most.
In general, poems that talk about “hope” suggest that there will eventually come a time when things get better (or at least stop getting worse).
Here are some great examples of poems about hope:
- The Journey by Mary Oliver
- Making Peace by Denise Levertov
- When I Have Fears That I May Cease to Be by John Keats
- Work Without Hope by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
- A Dream Within A Dream by Edgar Allan Poe
- Song of Myself by Walt Whitman
- Do not go gentle into that good night by Dylan Thomas
Social justice poems
When you read a poem that speaks out against injustice, you can express your feelings about the situation in an organized way. You can also use the poems to raise awareness about the causes you care about and want to support. Social justice poems are great for students to express themselves and rally behind causes they care about.
Here are some great examples of social justice poems:
- A Dream Deferred by Langston Hughes
- The Second Coming by William Butler Yeats
- The Diameter of the Bomb by Yehuda Amichai
- Who Said It Was Simple by Audre Lorde
- America by Allen Ginsberg
- 10-Year-Old Shot Three Times, But She’s Fine by Patricia Smith
Feminist poetry is a genre of literature that attempts to challenge the status quo and question women’s traditional roles in society. Feminist poets use their art to explore issues such as gender discrimination and sexual harassment, often through metaphor.
Here are some great examples of feminist poetry:
- No, Thank You, John, by Christina Rossetti
- Still, I Rise by Maya Angelou
- I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou (poems by Maya Angelou)
- Diving into the wreck by Adrienne Rich
- Loose Woman by Sandra Cisneros
- For Women Who Are Difficult to Love by Warsan Shire
- A Litany for Survival by Audre Lorde
Love poems are a great way to get into the mindset of your readers. They’re complex in their simplicity and can be used to convey many different feelings. This makes them especially effective in conveying the various types of love that exist in the world.
While some people may think love poems are only about romantic love, they can also describe other types of love: parental love, platonic friendship, admiration for something or someone else’s artistic ability…the list goes on!
The best thing about these poems is that they give insight into what it means for someone else when they experience these feelings for themselves—which means you can use this information to understand certain emotions better!
Here are some great examples of love poems:
- First Memory by Louise Glück
- Tonight I Can Write the Saddest Lines by Pablo Neruda
- Having a Coke With You by Frank O’Hara
- This is to Say by William Carlos Williams
- You are tired, (I think) by E. E. Cummings
- Movement Song by Audre Lorde
- Annabel Lee by Edgar Allan Poe
- The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot
- Postcard from the Heartbreak Hotel by John Brehm
Wrap Up on Poems for College Students!
With these poems, you’ll be able to practice important skills for reading and analyzing poetry, including simile and metaphor comprehension, understanding narrative perspective, interpreting figurative languages like dialects and personifications, and unpacking the many different symbols in a poem. You may not love every poem on this list (we certainly don’t all agree!), but we hope some of them will resonate with you. Happy reading!
Get Help from our Experts with your Poems
If you are having trouble understanding the poem, our experts will be happy to help you. Our experts have years of experience in the field and can answer any questions that might arise while reading or analyzing a poem. If your professor has given you a poem to analyze, don’t worry! We’ve got your back! If this is your first time reading poetry alone, please do not hesitate to reach out and ask us anything related to poems.
We would love to hear from students interested in learning more about poetry and poems their professors may assign them at school or college.