Yale Class of 1975

Our Poetry Project

The project consists of favorite poems submitted by classmates. It is inspired by Robert Pinsky’s Favorite Poem Project implemented during his tenure as US Poet Laureate. Poems offer concentrated glimpses into the world we inhabit. Our favorites may offer resolution and hope. All are welcome — Serena.

Below, we include guidelines for submission of your favorite poem to our Poetry Project, as well as archived poems as they are replaced on our front page by newer submissions.

Poetry Project Archive


Week 1: The Oven Bird

There is a singer everyone has heard,
Loud, a mid-summer and a mid-wood bird,
Who makes the solid tree trunks sound again.
He says that leaves are old and that for flowers
Mid-summer is to spring as one to ten.
He says the early petal-fall is past
When pear and cherry bloom went down in showers
On sunny days a moment overcast;
And comes that other fall we name the fall.
He says the highway dust is over all.
The bird would cease and be as other birds
But that he knows in singing not to sing.
The question that he frames in all but words
Is what to make of a diminished thing.

— Robert Frost

Michael Stein: There are a couple of W.B. Yeats poems I like as much, but they’re quite long, and this one by Frost seems particularly à propos.


Week 2: Anglais Mort à Florence

A little less returned for him each spring.
Music began to fail him. Brahms, although
His dark familiar, often walked apart.

His spirit grew uncertain of delight,
Certain of its uncertainty, in which
That dark companion left him unconsoled

For a self returning mostly memory.
Only last year he said that the naked moon
Was not the moon he used to see, to feel

(In the pale coherences of moon and mood
When he was young), naked and alien,
More leanly shining from a lankier sky.

Its ruddy pallor had grown cadaverous.
He used his reason, exercised his will,
Turning in time to Brahms as alternate

In speech. He was that music and himself.
They were particles of order, a single majesty:
But he remembered the time when he stood alone.

He stood at last by God’s help and the police;
But he remembered the time when he stood alone.
He yielded himself to that single majesty;

But he remembered the time when he stood alone,
When to be and delight to be seemed to be one,
Before the colors deepened and grew small.

— Wallace Stevens

Doug Henwood: I’ve loved Stevens since my Yale days, mainly for his extraordinary language, and I’ve also loved Brahms forever. And this seems appropriate to our age cohort. I almost wrote a dissertation on him, but then I dropped out of grad school.


Submission Guidelines

1. Submission Period: Mon. January 15, 2024 – Fri. March 1, 2024

2. Submit 1-2 pages of poetry (12 pt) by a poet other than yourself.
    • Email to: serenajfox@me.com
    • Subject line: Class of 1975 Favorite Poems
    • Provide title, name of poet and translator, publishing acknowledgements
      if not in public domain (see Guideline 4).
    • Please provide optional information, as well, if you don’t mind.

3. Options:
    • One poem
    • Part of a longer poem
    • Translation of a poem or part of a longer poem

4. Please include the following in your email:
    (* indicates required field; other fields optional )
    – Date/Time
    – Last Name
    – First Name
    – Email Address
    * Title: English/Original
    * Poet/Translator
    – Meaning for Submitter
    * Acknowledgement if not in public domain