Features: Literature & Language Arts
Main Reading Room. Statue of Poetry, Library of Congress

Twenty-One Poems for AP Literature and Composition

Click here for the related feature, "Fiction and Non-Fiction for AP English Literature and Composition."

The selections within this listing represent frequently taught poets and poems in AP English Literature and Composition. 

For each of the twenty-one poems or poetic forms for AP Literature and Composition, students and teachers will find a link to the poem and multimedia resources. These include EDSITEment lessons as well as EDSITEment-reviewed websites that discuss the poem, the poet, and its context. Media incorporated in these resources include audio clips and video as well as primary source documents and photographs, along with other useful tools such as timelines. They offer both the content and skills needed to support student success in AP English Literature and Composition.

EDSITEment also offers a Literary Glossary of terms cross-referenced with EDSITEment lessons. It serves as a ready reference for students as they work through the lesson activities and prepare for the AP examination.

1.  Matthew Arnold: “Dover Beach”

The Poem

About this Poem from the Poetry Foundation

Arnold’s “Dover Beach”: A Commentary from Victorian Web

Dover Beach” audio clip from the American Academy of Poets

Dover Beach from Representative Poetry Online

2.  Elizabeth Bishop: “In the Waiting Room”

The Poem

Elizabeth Bishop from Voices and Visions

On “In the Waiting Room” from Modern American Poetry

3.  Gwendolyn Brooks: “We Real Cool”

The Poem

The Impact of a Poem's Line Breaks: Enjambment and Gwendolyn Brooks' "We Real Cool"

On “We Real Cool” from Modern American Poetry

We Real Cool” audio clip read by the author from the American Academy of Poets

4.  Robert Browning: “My Last Duchess”

The Poem

About this Poem from the Poetry Foundation

Browning's "My Last Duchess" and Dramatic Monologue

My Last Duchess” audio clip from the American Academy of Poets

My Last Duchess” from Representative Poetry Online

5.  Emily Dickinson: “Safe in their Alabaster Chambers” (124)

The Poem

About this Poem from the Poetry Foundation

Emily Dickinson from Voices and Visions

“Safe in their Alabaster Chambers” (216) audio clip from the American Academy of Poets

Letters from Emily Dickinson: “Will you be my preceptor?”  Lesson 2: Responding to Emily Dickinson: Poetic Analysis

6.  John Donne: “A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning”

The Poem

About this Poem from the Poetry Foundation

A Brief Guide to Metaphysical Poets from the American Academy of Poets

A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning” from Representative Poetry Online

7.  T.S. Eliot: “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

The Poem

About this Poem from the Poetry Foundation

Introduction to Modernist Poetry.  Lesson 3: Navigating Modernism with J. Alfred Prufrock

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” from Representative Poetry Online

T. S. Eliot from Voices and Visions

8.  Carolyn Forché: “The Colonel”

The Poem

About this Poem and “The Colonel” audio clip from the Poetry Foundation

On “The Colonel” from Modern American Poetry

9.  Robert Frost: “Mending Wall”

The Poem

About this Poem from the Poetry Foundation

On “Mending Wall” from Modern American Poetry

Robert Frost's "Mending Wall": A Marriage of Poetic Form and Content

Robert Frost from Voices and Visions

10.  Robert Hayden: “Those Winter Sundays”

The Poem

About this Poem from the Poetry Foundation 

Analyzing Poetic Devices: Robert Hayden's "Those Winter Sundays" and Theodore Roethke's "My Papa's Waltz"

Close Reading Notes for “Those Winter Sundays” from ReadWriteThink

 

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11.  Langston Hughes: “Let America Be America Again”

The Poem

On “Let America be American Again” from Modern American Poetry

Langston Hughes from Voices and Visions

Walt Whitman to Langston Hughes: Poems for a Democracy

12.  John Keats: “Ode on a Grecian Urn”

The Poem

About this Poem from the Poetry Foundation

Ekphrasis: Poetry Confronting Art from the American Academy of Poets

“Ode on a Grecian Urn” from Romantic Circles

13.  Andrew Marvell: “To His Coy Mistress”

The Poem

About this Poem from the Poetry Foundation

“To his Coy Mistress” from Representative Poetry Online

"World enough and time": Andrew Marvell's Coy Mistress

14.  Wilfred Owen: “Dulce et Decorum Est”

The Poem

About this Poem from the Poetry Foundation 

Poetry of The Great War: “From Darkness to Light”?

Introduction to Modernist Poetry.  Lesson 1: Understanding the Context of Modernist Poetry

15.  John Crowe Ransom: “Bells for John Whiteside’s Daughter”

The Poem

About this Poem from the Poetry Foundation

A Brief Guide to the Fugitives from the American Academy of Poets

On "Bells for John Whiteside's Daughter" from Modern American Poetry

16. William Shakespeare: Sonnets

Shakespeare’s Sonnets from the Folger Shakespeare Library

Listening to Poetry: Sounds of a Sonnet

Poetic Form: Sonnet from American Academy of Poets

Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet: “You kiss by the book”                            

The Sonnets from Mr. William Shakespeare and the Internet

William Shakespeare from the Poetry Foundation

17. Percy Bysshe Shelley: “Ozymandias”

The Poem

Poem Guide and About this Poem from the Poetry Foundation

Percy Bysshe Shelley from Victorian Web

“Ozymandias” from Representative Poetry Online

18.  Wallace Stevens: “Sunday Morning”

The Poem

On “Sunday Morning” from Modern American Poetry

Introduction to Modernist Poetry.  Lesson 2: Thirteen Ways of Reading a Modernist Poem

Sunday Morning” from Representative Poetry Online

19.  Dylan Thomas: “Do not go gentle into that good night”

The Poem

About this Poem from the Poetry Foundation

Death in Poetry: A.E. Housman's "To an Athlete Dying Young" and Dylan Thomas' "Do not go gentle into that good night"

“Do not go gentle into that good night” audio clip from the American Academy of Poets

20. William Carlos Williams: “Danse Russe”

The Poem

About this Poem from the Poetry Foundation

Seeing Sense in Photographs and Poems

William Carlos Williams from Voices and Visions

21. William Butler Yeats: “The Second Coming”

The Poem

About this Poem from the Poetry Foundation

William Butler Yeats  from Online Literary Criticism Collection 

Yeats: the Life and Works of William Butler Yeats from Irish Resources in the Humanities

 

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About the Image

Main Reading Room. View of statue of Poetry by John Quincy Adams Ward.  Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building, Washington, D.C.
Library of Congress Series, Carol M. Highsmith Archive. Division of Prints and Photographs, Library of Congress

Hither, as to their fountain, other stars Repairing, in their golden urns draw light...

John Milton, Paradise Lost, vii, 364  Inscription above the figure of Poetry