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Want to dazzle that special someone with your brilliant poetic side? If you need to brush up on your sonnets, haiku and odes, our guide will help you pick the perfect poets for every romantic occasion.
(1806-1861), Born in England
“How do I love thee?
Let me count the ways…”
— Sonnets from the Portuguese, poem 43
If you’re a traditionalist, Liz is the lady for you. Her famous poem “How do I love thee?” isn’t the most original choice, but it is a romantic classic. If you recite the lines sincerely and passionately, you’re sure to win over your love. Check out her complete works to pick a lesser-known poem with even more pizzazz.
(1904-1991), Born in Springfield, Massachusetts
You might not think of green eggs and ham as aphrodisiacs, but the poetry of Dr. Seuss is all about love. If you read some Seuss aloud in a playful manner, you’ll seem like the most totally adorable person this side of Hoo-ville.
For something a little more risqué, slip your lover this “Dr. Seuss Purity Test,” a racy take-off on his sweet stories.
T. S. Eliot
(1888-1965), Born in St. Louis, Missouri
“Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells…”
— The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
Feeling a little turned on? Your sweetie will, too, after hearing this poet’s naughty verse. Read the full poem, or join the T. S. Eliot Campfire Chat to get some poetic pointers from fellow fans.
(1830-1886) , Born in Amherst, Massachusetts
“I cannot live with you
It would be life,
And life is over there
Behind the shelf…
… So we must keep apart,
You there, I here,
With just the door ajar
That oceans are,
And that pale sustenance,
Do you want to depress the dickens out of your darlin’? With all her talk of death and of love that’s not-to-be, Emmy’s the poet to do it. Her beautiful work is perfect for those ill-fated relationships.
For all of her poems in one place, check out the Women’s Studies Reading Room archive.
(1932-1999), Born in Chicago, Illinois
“I will not play at tug o' war.
I'd rather play at hug o' war,
Where everyone hugs
Instead of tugs,
Where everyone giggles
And rolls on the rug,
Where everyone kisses,
And everyone grins,
And everyone cuddles,
And everyone wins.”
— Hug O’ War, from Where the Sidewalk Ends
For the kid-at-heart, Silverstein’s the guy for giving the giggles — or the cuddles. Not all of his poems are romantic, but they’ll make you and your honey feel sweetly innocent, cozy and carefree. Pick your favorite from this online collection.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
(1803-1882), Born in Boston, Massachusetts
“Thy summer voice, Musketaquit,
Repeats the music of the rain;
But sweeter rivers pulsing flit
Through thee, as thou through the Concord Plain.
Thou in thy narrow banks art pent:
The stream I love unbounded goes
Through flood and sea and firmament;
Through light, through life, it forward flows…”
— Two Rivers
For all you nature lovers who like to get it on in the great outdoors, Emerson is your man. Take your date on a woodsy excursion, find a nice place to nestle in the grass, and whip out this luscious language. His greatest hits will help you pack plenty of poetic punch.