Archives For *Poetry*



Earlier this week was the birthday of poet Mari Evans…

“Mari Evans is the greatest living poet” – Maya Angelou

In addition to greats like Kurt Vonnegut and John Green, Mari Evans is one of Indianapolis’s greatest literary treasures… and we are delighted to share her work with you here!

NOTE: Ignore the YouTube titles on these recordings, these are recordings of Evans reading her work.

If you want to read more of her poems, we recommend


I am a Black Woman

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Today marks the anniversary of the death of Jane Austen.

In honor of the occasion, we offer this poem by her…

Oh! Mr Best You’re Very Bad
Jane Austen


Oh! Mr. Best, you’re very bad
And all the world shall know it;
Your base behaviour shall be sung
By me, a tunefull Poet.–
You used to go to Harrowgate
Each summer as it came,
And why I pray should you refuse
To go this year the same?–
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Yesterday marked the anniversary of the death of poet Percy Bysshe Shelley.

Here is one of our favorite poems by him…


[ Books by Shelley ]

An Exhortation
Percy Bysshe Shelley

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I read four poems during our “special music” time at Englewood yesterday. The first three were “Poet” by Liberty Hyde Bailey, followed by two short Sabbath poems by Wendell Berry. The fourth poem was one that I wrote for the occasion, that is my response to all the violence of recent months (especially after Ferguson), and the ways so many people today — on the Right and on the Left — dig their heels in and are averse to dialogue.


Our Only Hope
C. Christopher Smith

As you move through your everyday life
Look at the people surrounding you
The people God made and that God loves.
Who are those who most differ from you?

Vote differently.
Think differently.
Act differently.
Talk differently.
Love differently.
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For those of you who already enjoy poetry, we hope you’ll appreciate this selection of classic pieces being read aloud.

For those of you who don’t love poetry, we’ve compiled a list of 10 singers and actors reading in hopes that they’ll help convince you to.


Compiled by Sarah Lyons


Meryl Streep

Actress, known for a variety of movies including The Devil Wears Prada and most recently Into the Woods


Reading Emily Dickinson’s “In Vain”


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Sarojini_Naidu_in_Bombay_1946Sarojini Naidu (born as Sarojini Chattopadhyay), also known as The Nightingale of India, was an Indian independence activist and poet. Naidu served as the first governor of the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh from 1947 to 1949; the first woman to become the governor of an Indian state. She was the second woman to become the president of the Indian National Congress in 1925 and the first Indian woman to do so.
(via Wikipedia)


Download Naidu’s collection of poems
The Golden Threshold

as a FREE ebook from Project Gutenberg.


The Coromandel Fishers
Sarojini Naidu

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Pope Francis


Yesterday saw the release of the English translation of Pope Francis’s Encyclical:

Laudato Si: On Care for our Common Home.

We encourage you to download the PDF of this encyclical and read it yourself.


Here are two lovely prayers that were included in the encyclical…
Perhaps you can find ways to use these prayers in the life of your church.


A prayer for our earth
Pope Francis

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Poetry is often much better heard than read off the page.

Here are seven of our favorite poetry collections that are available for FREE download from Librivox.

Included here are sample poems from each collection for your listening pleasure…


Selected Poems of Emily Dickinson

*** FREE Audiobook Download ****

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Today is the birthday of James Weldon Johnson, born 1871.

James Weldon Johnson (June 17, 1871 – June 26, 1938) was an American author, educator, lawyer, diplomat, songwriter, and civil rights activist. Johnson is best remembered for his leadership of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), where he started working in 1917. In 1920 he was the first black to be chosen as executive secretary of the organization, effectively the operating officer. He served in that position from 1920 to 1930. Johnson established his reputation as a writer, and was known during the Harlem Renaissance for his poems, novels, and anthologies collecting both poems and spirituals of black culture. (via Wikipedia)

 In honor of his birthday, we offer this poem…

To America
James Weldon Johnson

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Today is the birthday of the Italian poet, Giovanni Boccaccio, born 1313.

GIOVANNI BOCCACCIO (Giovanni di Boccaccio da Chellino), born at Paris, the son of a Florentine merchant. He came to Florence at an early age, studied commerce in Naples, but soon abandoned this for literature. About 1334 or 1338 he fell in love with Maria d’ Aquino, a natural daughter of King Robert of Naples, who, as “Fiammetta,” inspired a number of his works. In 1349, on his father’s death, he returned to Florence, where he entertained Petrarch, with whom he formed a close friendship. About 1362 he was so influenced by a priest called Gioacchino Ciani as completely to change his moral views and mode of life. In 1373 he read and commented in public on the Divina Commedia.


Giovanni Boccaccio

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