The monthly Classic Poem series at Slate, conducted by Robert Pinsky, has resumed. The most recent discussion posted on March 26, 2015 is of two translations, one by Langston Hughes and one by J.V. Cunningham.”

Slate maintains an archive of the Classic Poem discussions reaching back for years.

The free-standing, blog-style version that has been presented here for about a year as the Poetry Forum will remain available as an archive. (List of those eleven discussions below).

As always, the series is a forum, and emphatically invites discussion with, and among, readers.



Rhetoric That Is Not Rhetoric: Robert Hayden’s “Frederick Douglass”

A poetic triumph of rhetoric against rhetoric.

Douglass image

 Dec 3, 2014

The Word “Dear” on the Upper Verge

An enduring, brilliant image for loss, including loss of memory and loss of love, on a blank page.

Landor reading Homer in Greek for one last time, in his mid-eighties, sketched by his friend William Wetmore Story

July 30, 2014

The Projection of Meaning

Two trashy protagonists — actual trash — imbued with feeling and meaning by the force of imagination.


July 30, 2014

The Art of Noticing

A poet deploys her acute powers of observation to evoke the chemo-induced gaps and peculiarities in her search for a word.

Chemeleon Hours

Sept 17, 2014

Fine Knacks, Painted Things: John Dowland and Michael Drayton

The intricate, elaborate pursuit of “plainness,” in courtship and poetry.


Mar 26, 2014

The Sweetest Dream that Labor Knows: Williams and Frost

How the facts of work demonstrate the similarities between Robert Frost and William Carlos Williams.


Feb 12, 2014

Epigrams and Images: Dickinson, Pound, and Landor

Do conventional categories like “Imagism” and “Epigram” blur the nature of actual poems?

ImageEpigram 2

Jan 09, 2014

“The Man of Double Deed,” Anonymous

Method and wildness, fundamental energies of poetry, in a great anonymous work.

 Dec 04, 2013

Poe’s “Fairy-Land” and Bishop’s “Man-Moth”

Did Egar Allan Poe’s best poem, according to Elizabeth Bishop, inspire one of hers?

Oct 23, 2013

“Nick and the Candlestick,” Sylvia Plath

What the voice of a Jamaican immigrant demonstrates about Plath’s poem.

Sylvia Plath

Sep 25, 2013

“Women,” Louise Bogan

The mill-worker’s daughter who became poetry editor and reviewer for The New Yorker writes twenty lines of defiant irony.


Sep 18, 2013