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Frequently Asked Questions

Version 6.0, 6/18/2020 by S.L.S.

Christina Rossetti


Poets' Corner is an anthology, or collection of works gathered from many different sources. The promise of the internet is communications - the ability to find things of value, to communicate with others for common understanding, to make resources - often things that might otherwise be lost - available to many instead of a few.

The editors of this site have taken on the mission of serving this role for the art of Poetry. It is our desire to compile the largest, most diverse, and most accessible online collection of poetry in the world. There are over 7.300 works online by approzimately 800 poets. The format and the background scripting behind it is simple and streamlined - making the site fast and easily reachable / usable from anywhere in the world with nearly any net-connected device.

The site was initially created by Steve Spanoudis of Coral Springs, FL, who has been joined over the years by Bob Blair from Austin, TX, Nelson Miller from Macon, GA, and Jon Lachelt from Fort Collins, Colorado. In addition, this site has received the support of individuals from around the globe, and is used by thousands of people each week.


Obviously if you know who you're looking for, you can make use of the Condensed Author Index or the Annotated Author Index. The Title, First Line, and Combined indexes are currently not connected - I am trying to find a practical way to regenerate them for the full site, which was completely updated in June of 2020.

The Subject Index is still a work-in-progress - it is in the midst of a long-term re-write, but is a good place to browse / wander / look for things. There is a search engine, but it is not as powerful as I would like. It also searches the entire collection of collections that is

The Other Pages, so your results may be mixed. You may need to click on "Next Matches" multiple times to see all of your matches.

Please note that many of the files in the collection, particularly the older files, contain multiple poems. Make sure you scroll down. Even if you are not searching for anything, these contain good material for browsing, some of which, literally, you will not find anywhere else.

If all else fails (not as a first course of action, please), e-mail questions are answered if one of the editors is available. Note that we cannot guarantee an answer, though our track record is probably better than 80%. Questions through the Facebook page are probably seen the quickest.


If you are a student who is using the site for a homework assignment, understand that it is not our job to help you get it done. We receive numerous homework assignment requests during the academic year, ranging from elementary school to college undergraduates. Most students have their greatest difficulty (a) figuring out what a poem's true subject is, and (b) figuring out how the poem's mechanics support its meaning. I can't emphasize enough that, for a well-written poem, the sound is usually tailored to the meaning. Reciting a poem aloud and paying attention to what you're saying helps as much as anything. If there is a word you don't understand, look it up.

Linking to Pages

You are more than welcome to link to the Poets' Corner home page, or to any specific poet or work you wish. If it wasn't meant to be looked at by everyone it wouldn't be here. Note that in some parts of the collection (mainly the parts created in 2000-2002), there is generally only one poem per HTML file. In older or newer parts of the collection, you will want to reference the filename and anchor tag, for example, "keats01.html#2"

Sorry, we can not manage or maintain a library of reciprocal links. There are loads of search engines and other sites that do that. I want to spend our limited time and resources maintaining the collection itself - not verifying owners, checking for scams, and watching for broken links when things on other sites come and go. Our list of external links is short. No other poetry site has been as consistently accessible as this one.

Copying and Copyright

To the best of our knowledge, everything presented in "Poets' Corner", unless explicitly annotated otherwise, is believed to be in the public domain Stephen Spender within the United States, where the material is hosted. Note that, due to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (referred to by many as the Disney Profits Protection Act) most U.S. copyrights since 1923 were extended another quarter century. Only recently has that marker begun moving again. 1/1/1925 is the current moving target for copyright expiration.

We have a hope that at some point we will be able to get permission to add more recent works, and these will be designated with the appropriate copyright information. These may not be copied or distributed further without permission of the copyright holder. As we have no budget for this, it may also be a long, long time.

If you are duplicating or researching something, please do us the courtesy of listing the Poets' Corner URL (https://theotherpages.org/poems/) as a reference. Even the NY Times does us that courtesy. Since the few remaining commercial search engines have become so heavily weighted toward advertisers, word of mouth (social media) is once again becoming the best communications medium.

If you are among the 48% of our users who are outside the US, please check on the local copyright status before assuming 20th century works are in the public domain.

Please also note that the copyright notice on the collection references 'The Collection', all editorial content and annotation, and the HTML scripting and graphic that comprise the collection's characteristics. Please do not 'lift' pages from the collection to plug into your own online collection. They become 'dead files' that can not be maintained, and whose linkages are incorrect. Instead please link to the relevant page in the collection, or cut and past the unformatted, unlinked text you wish to reference into your own document.


Contributions are warmly welcomed, and all get credited (provided you remember to send in your name). Skim through the Author Index and look for initials in parenthesis (). There is a key to contributors on the Credits page.

The easiest way to send a poem is to cut and paste it into an ordinary e-mail message. Please include the source information to help us in confirming that the work is not under copyright. Try to be faithful to the spelling and indentation of the original. (Many poetry readers are natural proofreaders, it seems, by nature.) Poems will be scripted in html as closely as possible to the original print versions.

Because of the wide range of readership this site enjoys, there are some basic ground rules on content: we tend to avoid explicitly sexual, hate-ridden or prejudicial material. Fortunately, since people tend to send in their favorites (and there are good reasons why poems become favorites), the acceptance rate is very high.

Language Issues

English is the native language of all of our editors and, for the first several years, was the de facto language of the net. The collection has substantial American and British content, though nearly all of the Commonwealth is represented.

It is perhaps one of the basic characteristics of poetry that it is so intimately a part of its native language that it generally does not translate well. It is very difficult to match the rhyme, form, meaning, and meter in more than one language at a time. There are exceptions to this, so we will from time-to-time add translated works. Most of the well-known translations are 'interpretive' in nature, not literal. Fitzgerald's version of the Rubaiyat is a prime example. I learned my own lesson by spending a year translating Virgil's Aeneid from Latin once upon a time. Heu (sigh).

If you want to contribute a non-English poem, please provide an English translation as well.

Literary Criticism

The site does not contain much in the way of literary criticism, as such. Some of the major works have introductions by the contributors or editors. There are some major works where annotations are included, and Bob Blair has been the principal editor in this area. The best discussions are usually the articles we write for National Poetry Month. See the links at the top of the home page.

My apologies to all A.P. English students out there who would like their homework done for them. Please see the section above on Homework.

What poetry questions are asked most frequently?

  1. What was the poem used in the movie 'Four Weddings and a Funeral?'

    It was Funeral Blues by W.H. Auden, which starts out with:

    Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
    Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
    Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
    Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come...

    And was originally from his piece, Four Cabaret Songs for Miss Hedli Anderson.

  2. What's the poem about 'not going gentle in the night' or something like that?

    It's actually a poem called Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night by Dylan Thomas. The first stanza starts out:

    Do not go gentle into that good night,
    Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light...

    It is considered the finest villanelles ever written. A villanelle is a special type of short poem with a special pattern of repeating lines. In what was perhaps not its best showing, Sally Kellerman taught it to Rodney Dangerfield in the movie 'Back to School'.

  3. What poem does '...But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep...' come from?

    It is from 'Stopping in the Woods on a Snowy Evening', a beautiful short poem written by Robert Frost, and part of his collection titled New Hampshire, published in 1923.

  4. What was the poem used by Robin Williams in the opening of the movie 'Dead Poets' Society?'

    It was To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time by Robert Herrick:

    Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
    Old time is still a-flying;
    And the same flower that smiles today
    Tomorrow will be dying.

    The glorious lamp of heaven the sun,
    The higher he's a-getting,
    The sooner will his race be run,
    And nearer he's to setting.

    That age is best which is the first,
    When youth and blood are warmer;
    But being spent, the worse, and worst
    Times still succeed the former.

    Then be not coy, but use your time,
    And, while ye may, go marry;
    For, having lost but once your prime,
    You may forever tarry.

  5. Wasn't the Broadway play 'Cats' based on some poems or something?

    Yes, the play is based generally on a book by poet T.S. Eliot entitled 'Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats'.

  6. What's the poem about 'burning the candle at both ends?'

    It is by Edna St. Vincent Millay, from her collection 'A Few Figs from Thistles', published in 1922, the 'First Fig' is:

    My candle burns at both ends;
       It will not last the night;
    But ah, my foes and oh, my friends--
       It gives a lovely light!

  7. Who wrote "Grow old with me, the best is yet to be?"

    It is from Rabbi Ben Ezra by Robert Browning':

    GROW old along with me!
    The best is yet to be,
    The last of life, for which the first was made:
    Our times are in his hand
    Who saith, ``A whole I planned,
    Youth shows but half; trust God: see all, nor be afraid!''

  8. Is it true that none of Emily Dickinson's poems were published while she was alive?'

    About nine of here poems were published during her lifetime, mostly in newspapers and magazines. Her poem 'Success' was contributed to an anonymous collection which included works of many well-known authors of the day, but it was changed by the publisher and most critics thought it had been written by Emerson. On the other hand, all of poet Gerard Manly Hopkins works were published after his death.

  9. Who Wrote something about "I must go down to the sea again?" -- they quote it in a lot of movies.

    That would be John Masefield, from a poem titled Sea Fever; it starts out:

    I MUST down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
    And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
    And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
    And a gray mist on the sea's face, and a gray dawn breaking.

    And yes, there is no "go" in the first line, and seas is plural.

  10. Who wrote the poem that starts out "Do not stand at my grave and weep" ?

    The poem has been attributed to American poet and florist Mary Elizabeth Frye, circa 1932. There is some question about the authorship but the story regarding Frye seems reasonable. Note that there have been several poems whos true authorship has been questioned, including "The Face on the Barroom Floor, and most notably, "'Twas the Night Before Christmas."

    Do not stand at my grave and weep
    I am not there. I do not sleep.
    I am a thousand winds that blow.
    I am the diamond glints on snow.
    I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
    I am the gentle autumn rain.
    When you awaken in the morning's hush
    I am the swift uplifting rush
    Of quiet birds in circled flight.
    I am the soft stars that shine at night.
    Do not stand at my grave and cry;
    I am not there. I did not die.

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