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Subject Index
  1. Adventure
  2. Animals
  3. Beauty
  4. Bereavement
  5. Birds
  6. Carpe Diem
  7. Children
  8. Dance
  9. Death
  10. Descriptions
  11. Faith & Religion
  12. Family & Home
  13. Flowers
  14. Food & Drink
  15. Friendship
  16. Garden
  17. Heroes
  18. History
  19. Holidays
  20. Humor
  21. Images
  22. Imagination
  23. Inspiration
  24. Life
  25. Love
  26. Machines
  27. Marriage
  28. Memorials
  29. Memory
  30. Months
  31. Music
  32. Mystery
  33. Nature
  34. Parodies
  35. Parting
  36. Patriotism
  37. People
  38. Places
  39. Poetry
  40. Protest
  41. Rhyme & Rhythm
  42. Satire
  43. School
  44. Sea & Sailing
  45. Seasons
  46. Song
  47. Sport
  48. Stages of Life
  49. Story Telling
  50. Time
  51. Time of Day
  52. Travel
  53. War
  54. Weather
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Subject Index - Places

The Florida beach

There is a scene near the end of the movie Contact where the astronaut played by Jodie Foster, sent to be the first human contact with the rest of the galaxy, is overwhelmed by what she sees and says, simply, "They should have sent a poet." Whether it is a description of some far off, unseen natural wonder, a detailed description of a city scene, or a simple way of seeing a familiar place, poetry provides us with a way of translating what we see (and hear and smell, and taste and touch) into something compact and transportable, that lets the experience be shared with others.

Some are as packed with information as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's The Belfrey of Bruges , others are as simple as Sara Teasdale's Imagist description of Evening: New York. Enjoy them, and see if there are some that stick with you. As I am writing this I have recently returned from Chicago, so Carl Sandburg's description is stuck in my head.

  1. Chartres by Edith Wharton
    A stark, and startling description of the interior of Chartes Cathedral.

  2. The Florida Beach by Constance Fenimore Woolson
    I have spent over ten years now in Florida, but still, like Woolson, I have not spent enough time on The Florida Beach.

  3. Carl Sandburg
  4. Omaha by Carl Sandburg
    The city that "works to get the world a breakfast", according to Sandburg.

  5. Pennsylvania
    A very good example of Sandburg's ability to capture much about a place in very few words.

  6. Inversnaid by Gerard Manley Hopkins
    Hopkins poem about the unspoiled countryside along the east bank of Loch Lomond in Scotland is full of alliterations that roll off your tongue (with a little practice reading aloud).

  7. Bronx by Joseph Rodman Drake
    I guarantee that Drake would not recognize his idyllic wilderness now; nevertheless, it must have been lovely then...

  8. Arabia by Walter De La Mare
    Yes, there is at least one forest left in modern-day (Saudi) Arabia.

  9. Chicago by Carl Sandburg
    Sandburg's famously explicit portrait of city's faults and possibilities "And they tell me you are crooked and I answer: Yes, it is true..."

  10. On the Mississippi by Hamlin Garland
    A short but very alliterative description.

  11. Yosemite Falls
  12. Kubla Khan by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
    (No one said it had to be a REAL place)

  13. Yosemite by Joaquin Miller
    Miller's words almost literally 'march' us out into the great West to see the valley's wonders

  14. On Broadway by Claude McKay
    McKay pre-dates Leiber & Stoller by many years, but the mood is similar - focused on lack of love rather than lack of money.

  15. The Blue Ridge by Harriet Monroe
    Mountains, personified and ennobled.

  16. The Belfry of Bruges by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
    Perhaps more than you want to know.

  17. Gloucester Moors by William Vaughn Moody
    The poet uses the rolling moors that run parallel to the sea to set up a series of parallel metaphors.

  18. The Nile by James Leigh Hunt
    Life flows as a river - but with pyramids, etc.

  19. London by William Blake
    A VERY dark description of the city and its inhabitants. Not one for the tourist brochure.

  20. Evening: New York by Sara Teasdale
    A much more endearing image if New York at night

  21. City Lyrics by Nathaniel Parker Willis
    New York again, on a Hot Summer Night

  22. Sunset from Omaha Hotel Window by Carl Sandburg
    Sandburg. In Nebraska.

  23. Joaquin Miller
  24. Localities by Carl Sandburg
    This one could almost be by e.e. cummings

  25. Glasgow by Alexander Smith
    A soot-streaked, but in the end affectionate portrait of an industrial town.

  26. Oxford by Lionel Johnson
    Nothing but shine in this portrait of a college town.

  27. A Description of the Morning by Jonathan Swift
    An excellent description of a city street in London.

  28. By Loe Pool by Arthur Symons
    A pastoral counterpoint to balance out the city descriptions.

  29. Niagara by Lydia H. Sigourney
    Sigourney works hard to describe hew awe at the Unfathom'd and resistless forces she sees.

  30. In Southern California by Joaquin Miller
    A good recitation of the reasons people used to dream of going to California.

  31. On the Lighthouse at Antibes by Mathilde Blind
    Where it seems to always be a Dark and Stormy Night.

  32. Midnight at Geneva by Francis Turner Palgrave
    A portrait with 'azure' and 'argent'.

  33. Home Sweet Home by John Howard Payne
    Arguably the most important 'place' of all.

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