Motivation comes from everywhere, including from inspirational poems. If you’re not an avid reader or don’t like heavy tomes that take ages to finish, inspirational poetry is a great option. Much shorter in length than novels or self-help books, inspirational poems deliver their messages quickly. They can provide a pick-me-up when you’re feeling down, or just some motivation to face the day ahead. Here are some inspirational poems in all different genres.
1. Because I Could Not Stop for Death by Emily Dickinson
The concept of morality has always been something which people have challenged, manipulated, and struggled to come to terms with. In your life, you’ve probably tried to make sense of it all. In a world where everyone has the freedom to say what they like, this is one of the inspirational poems which could influence and help make sense of your thoughts on morality.
2. For the Union Dead by Robert Lowell
Robert Lowell is famous for his poems on history and the deepest recesses of the human condition. We all wonder where we came from and why we act in a certain direction sometimes. 'For the Union Dead' is a piece of inspirational poetry which can help you in forcing your mind forward by unveiling new directions and exploring possibilities you might never have come into contact with.
3. Daddy by Sylvia Plath
Famous for her tragic suicide, Sylvia Plath revolutionized confessional poetry. Reading through 'Daddy' by Sylvia Plath is something many young women can relate to. Even if the specific events of Plath’s life don’t apply, the idea of expressing yourself through the written word is something we can each use in our lives.
4. And Ut Pictura Poesis is Her Name by John Ashbery
Ashbery’s poetry has always divided opinion. Some have called him irritating, whilst others have called him a master wordsmith. What’s never been in dispute is his impactful and inspirational style of writing. This is one of the most inspirational poems simply because his words make you think. Even if you find him annoying, he has the knack of making you wonder why he makes you feel like you do.
5. Howl by Allen Ginsberg
Allen Ginsberg pioneered the Beat movement. ‘Howl’ almost destroyed him due to the obscenity trial he had to undergo following its publication. But this is one of the poems to inspire you and to treasure, as it instills a lust for life. If you’re wondering why you bother, read this and you’ll instantly remember why.
6. Song of Myself by Walt Whitman
In those dark moments of your life where you wish you lived elsewhere, read through ‘Song of Myself.’ It’s one of the most famous American poems. It’s a poem that charts the progress of a young nation emerging in its own image, but is now also cited as an allegory to inspire personal growth. As Ezra Pound later noted in ‘A Pact,’ this was a call to every poet who came after him.
7. The Idea of Order at Key West by Wallace Stephens
Creativity is something we all need to excel in life. It’s what keeps things interesting. If you find yourself in a creative rut, read ‘The Idea of Order at Key West.’ It strikes right at the heart of chaos and the heart of all creativity. Through a manipulation of blank verse infused with powerful language, Stephens offers some inspirational poetry which drives your mind in a new direction.
8. To My Dear and Loving Husband by Ann Bradstreet
This poem is nothing short of a masterpiece. It’s amongst the most inspirational poems you’ll ever read as Ann writes of the deep love she has for her husband. The beauty is it applies to anyone who has ever been love. Many women have found themselves in tears after reading this work of written art.
9. Directive by Robert Frost
Frost didn’t create a poem which necessarily focuses on a specific theme or time zone. He crosses the sands of time and delves into something which we can all relate to: the inner life of a reader. It brings these potent emotions to the surface in his trademark voice. Many call it a less cosmopolitan version of Eliot’s ‘The Waste Land.’
10. One Art by Elizabeth Bishop
'One Art' is primarily a poem about loss, but its power increases with every stanza, until it reaches a dramatic crescendo. Whilst it isn’t necessarily upbeat and full of joy, it teaches you to confront inevitable losses (of any size) and deal with them.
Why not pick one of these inspirational poems to read? Or maybe you have your own recommendations?