The Mid-Length Long Poem: Modern & Contemporary

Compiled by Robert Lunday; updated 5/23/11

 This list needs to be both longer and shorter: longer, because there are many more poems of similar length; shorter, because I am ultimately attempting to define a “performative” long poem – one that can be reasonably read in a sitting, or read out loud to a patient audience without breaks (ignoring marathon readings, that is). I include poems that are sectioned, but I omit many poems that are best described as sequences – though there is room for argument as to the difference.

 I have other titles scattered in my notes, but even with those added in, I have yet to do a truly thorough search…

 Let me know, anyone, of works that might be added. I've not gone far enough yet beyond the mainstream academic poets, or beyond the North American....


Anna Akhmatova


            “Poem Without a Hero”


Yehuda Amichai


“Travels of the Last Benjamin of Tudela”


A. R. Ammons


“The Ridge Farm”

"Essay on Poetics"

“Pray Without Ceasing”

“Summer Session



Simon Armitage


“Five Eleven Ninety-Nine”


John Ashbery


"Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror"


"A Wave"

"Fantasia on 'The Nut-Brown Maid'"


W. H. Auden


“Letter to Lord Byron”


Joshua Beckman


“Ode to Old Watermelon Hands”

"Purple Heart Highway”

“The Redwoods: A Tragedy”

“Winter’s Horizon”


Stephen Berg


“Homage to the Afterlife”

“Sappho: You Burn Me”

“In the Infinitive”


John Berryman


"Homage to Mistress Bradstreet"


Frank Bidart


"The First Hour of the Night"

“The War of Vaslav Nijinsky"


"Ellen West"

“The Second Hour of the Night”


George Bradley


“How I Got into the Business”


Andre Breton


“Ode to Charles Fourier”


Joseph Brodsky


            “Homage to Yalta”

            “Lullaby of Cape Cod”


Gwendolyn Brooks


“The Anniad”



Basil Bunting



“Chomei at Toyama”


John Canaday


            “The Impostors”


Ernesto Cardenal




Hayden Carruth


"Journey to a Known Place"

"North Winter"



Anne Carson


“The Fall of Rome: A Traveller’s Guide”

“The Glass Essay”


Gillian Clarke


“Letter from a Far Country”


Blaise Cendars


            “La Prose du Transsiberien”


Paul Claudel


Five Great Odes


Leo Conellan


“Crossing America”


Wendy Cope


“The Teacher’s Tale”


Alfred Corn


“Pages from a Voyage”

“The Outdoor Amphitheater”

“La Madeleine”


Henri Coulette


“The War of the Secret Agents”


Victor Hernandez Cruz




James Dickey



“May Day Sermon…”


Rita Dove


“Persephone in Hell”


Richard Eberhart


            “The Kite”


T.S. Eliot


"The Waste Land"

"Four Quartets"


Robert Frost


“Kitty Hawk”


“New Hampshire”


Alice Fulton


“About Music for Bone and Membrane Instrument”


Jean Garrigue



"Pays Perdu"


Allen Ginsberg





Dana Gioia


"The Homecoming"


Albert Goldbarth


“The Book of Speedy’


Jorie Graham


“Who Watches from the Dark Cage”


Debora Greger


“God in Florida”


Allen Grossman


“Trulov the Sailor”


Rachel Hadas




Kimiko Hahn


"The Hemisphere: Kuchuk Hanem"


“The Volcano’s Desire”


Donald Hall


“The Thirteenth Inning”

“Daylilies on the Hill 1975 – 1989”


Jim Harrison


“Returning to Earth”

The Theory and Practice of Rivers”


Robert Hass


            “Regalia for a Black Hat Dancer”


Anthony Hecht


            “The Venetian Vespers”

“Cape Cod Lullaby”


Geoffrey Hill


“The Mystery of the Charity of Charles Peguy”


H. L. Hix


“Orders of Magnitude”


“A Manual of Happiness”


Richard Howard


"The Lesson of the Master”


"Even in Paris"

"Wild Flowers"

"A Natural Death"


T. R. Hummer


“Walt Whitman in Hell”


Angela Jackson


“The Race of Memory”


Randall Jarrell


“The Lost World”


Robinson Jeffers


"Roan Stallion"




Galway Kinnell


"The Avenue Bearing the Initial of Christ into the New World"


Kenneth Koch




John Koethe


"Falling Water"



Robert Kroetsch




Joanne Kyger


“Desecheo Notebook”

“The Wonderful Focus of You”


Sydney Lea


"The Feud"


Philip Levine


“A Poem with No Ending”

“A Walk with Tom Jefferson”



Larry Levis


“Elegy Ending in the Sound of a Skipping Rope”


C. S. Lewis


“The Nameless Isle”


Hugh MacDiarmid


“On a Raised Beach”


Cynthia Macdonald


"Burying the Babies"


Archibald MacLeish


"The Hamlet of A. MacLeish"



Charles Martin


“A Walk in the Hills Above the Artist’s House”


Valdimir Mayakovsky


“The Cloud in Trousers”


Robert McDowell


“Quiet Money”

“The Pact”

“Red Foxes”


Campbell McGrath


“The Florida Poem”


Heather McHugh


“Not a Prayer”


James McMichael



“The World at Large”


Anne Michaels




“Miner’s Pond”


Czeslaw Milosz


“Six Lectures in Verse”

“The Separate Notebooks”


Susan Mitchell



“Bird: A Memoir”


Paul Monette


“Musical Comedy”


Herbert Morris


“Felice Before the Lighting of the Lamps”

“Soir Bleu”


Paul Muldoon



“Hopewell Haiku”


“The More a Man has the More a Man Wants”

“At the Sign of the Black Horse, September 1999”


David Mura


“The Affair”


Vladimir Nabokov


“Pale Fire”


Frank O’Hara


“Second Avenue”


Michael Ondaatje


“Tin Roof”


Jacqueline Osherow


"A Footnote for Perets Markish"

“Views of La Leggenda della Vera Croce”

“Late Night Tête-à-tête with a Moon in Transit”

“One Last Terza Rima/Italian Train”

“Scattered Psalms”


Octavio Paz


            “Sun Stone”


Bob Perelman




Robert Pinsky


"Essay on Psychiatrists"


Sylvia Plath


"Three Women"


Robert Polito




Kenneth Rexroth


"The Phoenix and the Tortoise

"The Heart's Garden, the Garden's Heart"


Adrienne Rich


"Atlas of the Difficult World"

“Shooting Script”


Laura Riding


            “The Last Covenant”

“Memoires of Mortalities”

            “The Vain Life of Voltaire”

            “Laura and Francesca”


Edwin Arlington Robinson


“Ben Jonson Entertains a Man from Stratford”

“Isaac and Archibald”

“The Book of Annandale”

“The Three Taverns”

“On the Way”

“Tasker Norcross”


“Rembrandt to Rembrandt”

“Genevieve and Alexandra”


“Demos and Dionysus”


Muriel Rukeyser


“Suite for Lord Timothy Dexter”

“The Cruise”



Mary Jo Salter


            “The Hand of Thomas Jefferson”


Gertrude Schnackenberg


“Imaginary Prisons”


James Schuyler


"Hymn to Life"

"A Few Days"


Anne Sexton


"Letters to Dr. Y”

“O Ye Tongues”


Edith Sitwell


“Elegy on Dead Fashion”


“Gold Coast Customs”


Gerald Stern




Frank Stanford


“The Snake Doctors”


Wallace Stevens


“The Comedian as the Letter C”

"Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction"

"The Man With the Blue Guitar"

“Esthétique du Mal”

"An Ordinary Evening in New Haven"


Peter Viereck




Derek Walcott


“The Schooner Flight”

“The Star Apple Kingdom”


Robert Penn Warren


"The Ballad of Billie Potts"


Theodore Weiss


"The Garden Beyond"


“Caliban Remembers”




Rachel Wetzsteon


“The Other Stars”


C. K. Williams


“She, Though”


William Carlos Williams


"The Desert Music"

"Asphodel, That Greeny Flower"


Alan Williamson


“The Muse of Distance”


Charles Wright


"The Southern Cross"

“Apologia Pro Vita Sua”

“Disjecta Membra”



Jay Wright


“Twenty-Two Tremblings of the Postulant”

“MacIntyre, the Captain and the Saints”

“The Eye of God”

from The Double Invention of Komo:

“The Eleven Altars Dance in the Wood”

“The Opening of the Cycle of Redemption”

“The Abstract of Knowledge/the First Test”

“Zapata and the Egungun Mask”

“The Anti-Fabliau of Saturnino Orestes ‘Minnie Minoso”




Matthew Arnold, “Tristram and Iseult,” “Sohrab and Rustum”

William Blake, various…”First Book of Urizen”

Robert Browning, “Pauline,” “Fra Lippo Lippi,” “Bishop Bloghram’s Apology,” “Caliban upon Setebos”

Lord Byron, “Beppo,” “English Bards and Scotch Reviewers,” “Mazeppa,” “The Prisoner of Chillon,” “The Seige of Corinth,” “The Vision of Judgment”

Thomas Campbell, “Gertrude of Wyomong,” “The Pleasures of Hope”

Catullus, “Peleus and Thetis”

Geoffrey Chaucer, various

Samuel T. Coleridge, “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” “Christabel,” “Religious Musings”

John Dryden. “Eleonora,” “Britannia Redivivia,” “Threnodia Augustalis”

Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Monadnoc”

Jean De La Fontaine, various

Luis Gongora, “Soledades” (see Grossman trans) and “Poliferno”

Oliver Goldsmith, “The Deserted Village”

Thomas Henryson, “The Testament of Cresseid” (Heaney trans.)

Gerard Manly Hopkins, “Wreck of the Deutschland”

Juvenal, various

John Keats, “The Fall of Hyperion,” “Lamia.” “The Eve of St. Agnes”Thomas Thomas Lodge, “Salmacis and Hermaphroditis”

Mina Loy, “Songs to Joanna,” “Anglo Mongrels”

Christopher Marlowe, “Hero and Leander”

George Meredith, “Modern Love”

Brian Merriman, “The Midnight Court”John Milton, “Comus”

James Montgomery, “The Wanderer of Switzerland,” “The West Indies”

Moschus, “Europa”

Ovid, various

The Pearl Poet

Alexander Pope, “The Rape of the Lock,” “An Essay on Man,” “An Essay on Criticism,” “Eloisa to Abelard”

Ezra Pound, “Mauberly”

Christina Rosetti, “Goblin Market,” “The Prince’s Progress”

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, “Jenny,” “A Last Confession”

William Shakespeare, “The Rape of Lucrece”

Percy Shelley, “The Triumph of Life,” “Alastor,” “The Witch of Atlas”

Christopher Smart, “Song to David”

Southey, “A Vision of Judgment”

Algernon Charles Swinburne, “Laus Veneris,” “The Triumph of Time”

Alfred Tennyson, “Enoch Arden”


Francois Villon, various

Virgil, Georgics

Walt Whitman, various

James Greenleaf Whittier, “Snow-Bound”

Oscar Wilde, “The Ballad of Reading Gaol”

William Wordsworth, “Peter Bell”