Looking Forward To Summer? Read These Poems

by Melissa Ragsdale

Despite the cold weather in the Northeast, summer is just around the corner, and as the sunny days have finally begun to roll in, I've used the sunshine as an opportunity to read great poetry about summer. And seriously, is there a better way to get in the warm weather mood than with some phenomenal literature?

I don't know about you, but I have been craving some sunshine and some pool time. Who doesn't love those long summer evenings — the ones where you sit out on the porch and chat with your pals until it's practically morning? Or how about those weekend rooftop parties, spent sipping on some cold cocktails with friends? Summer is filled with possibilities to meet new people and experience new things.

Below, I've compiled 10 fantastic poems that capture the spirit of summer. So before you turn in your final exams, pull out your tank tops, and pack up your beach bags, kickstart your summer by diving into some great poetry. These poems are perfect to read as you lay out on your towel, soaking up all that summer sun:


"Bleeker Street, Summer" by Derek Walcott

When I press summer dusks together, it is
a month of street accordions and sprinklers
laying the dust, small shadows running from me.

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"Summer" by Robin Coste Lewis

[...] I peeled
a banana. And cursed God—His arrogance,
His gall—to still expect our devotion
after creating love. And mosquitoes.

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"Knoxville, Tennessee" by Nikki Giovanni

I always like summer
you can eat fresh corn
from daddy’s garden
and okra
and greens
and cabbage

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"Four Poems" by Sarah Jean Alexander

Soon, I’ll be wearing the same sweat­stained
cutoff shorts for the 20th day in a row
I’ll realize it’s spring almost summer
There will be frozen margarita in my stomach
McCarren Park grass hiding in my asscrack

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"Summer Song" by William Carlos Williams

Wanderer moon
smiling a
faintly ironical smile
at this
brilliant, dew-moistened
summer morning

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"Last August Hours Before the Year 2000" by Naomi Shihab Nye

Spun silk of mercy,
long-limbed afternoon,
sun urging purple blossoms from baked stems.
What better blessing than to move without hurry
under trees?

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"Firefly" by Jacqueline Woodson

It's almost May
and yesterday
I saw a firefly.

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"Photo of a Girl on a Beach" by Carmen Giminéz Smith

I sat naked on a towel
on a hot June Monday.
The sun etched the inside of my eyelids,
while a boy dozed at my side.

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"The Summer Day" by Mary Oliver

Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

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"Summer Romance" by Ocean Vuong

In the summer, it is easy to have
the urge to catch a butterfly.
They flutter about making
acquaintances with all the strangers
while offering ripened melons
to sweeten the tongue's cracks.

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