STAFF PICKS: LOVE POEMS
Happy Valentine's Day from Mass Poetry! Allow us to share our favorite love poems. (Please click on poem titles to read.)
Sebastian Alberdi | Mass Poetry Program Assistant
"Poplar Street" by Chen Chen
"I first encountered this poem in June 2015 because it was in that month’s issue of Poetry. Does it count as a love poem? I think it does. I think it’s a poem about all kinds of love. Romantic love between people, a curious, crush-y or just interested love of strangers, the love between parents & children, and a love of life. It’s silly, it’s serious, and it’s just a really good poem. 'Poplar Street' has stuck with me ever since I read it and, what can I say, I love it even if it might not be a 'traditional' love poem."
Sharon Amuguni | Mass Poetry Program Assistant
"Lessons on Loving a Prophet" by Jeanann Verlee (video)
"In 'Lessons on Loving a Prophet,' Jeanann Verlee explores a narrative within love stories that's not often examined, dedicating the poems to Kasturba Ghandi and Coretta Scott King. As the poem unfolds it is breathtaking and vulnerable but still harbors that sense of sharpness and grit frequently felt in Jeanann Verlee's work."
Michael Ansara | Mass Poetry Co-founder and Board Chair
“To His Coy Mistress” by Andrew Marvell (text and audio)
"How can you not love a poem that includes 'my vegetable love'?! And how can you not love a poem that is such a plea for sex with the beloved and uses such wonderful metaphors and language 'then worms shall try / That long-preserved virginity' and dares to say 'And your quaint honour turn to dust, / And into ashes all my lust.' On and on the language is so rich and so evocative and sensuous. How can you not be swept along by this fine poem that, while written more than 350 years ago, is still so fresh, funny, wise, persuasive, urgent and sensual?"
Lauren McCormick | Web Associate
"Brown Penny" by W.B. Yeats (text and audio)
"This poem gives me the warm fuzzies every time I read it. I like the sentiment of putting yourself out there and connecting with people even in the face of potential rejection or heartbreak. As Yeats relates, we can spend an infinite amount of time thinking about love and everything that goes with it. That's time wasted thinking and doing nothing, and soon enough, that opportunity will pass. Regret far outweighs rejection and heartbreak in terms of healing."
January Gill O’Neil | Massachusetts Poetry Festival Executive Director
“somewhere i have never travelled gladly,beyond” by e.e. cummings
"My birthday is February 14. Growing up, there wasn't a year that went by without a red heart box of candy, Russell Stover or Whitman's Samplers. Later, long-stemmed red roses. Now? Paper hearts and cards from my kids. Those are the best! Guess I like unconventional love poems, and e.e. cummings was one of the first poets I fell in love with in high school. This poem is unconventionally beautiful. It still surprises me every time I read it. (Pro tip: never buy roses on Valentine's Day. The markup is outrageous.)"
Sara Siegel | Mass Poetry Program Director
“Since feeling is first” by e.e. cummings (text and audio)
"As someone who is constantly overthinking things, I love this poem's emphasis on feeling rather than thought. Particularly as it relates to love! I also appreciate the use of 'wholly' twice, the sense it gives that anyone can kiss you and anyone can be a fool, but you need abandon to fully do either."