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The Beat poets were associated with the more general Beat movement of the mid-twentieth century. They were centered in New York City and then San Francisco.

Black Arts

Poets comprised a large part of the Black Arts movement of the 1960s and 1970s that celebrated Black art and culture, often in connection to radical politics.

Black Mountain

The Black Mountain Poets were a group of poets associated with Black Mountain College in the mid-twentieth century.

Cave Canem

Cave Canem poets are poets of color associated with the Cave Canem foundation, started in 1996.


Confessional Poetry began as one of many artistic movements in post-war twentieth-century America. Its most fundamental aspect is blatant autobiographical content, which often manifests as self-deprecation. It frequently deals with taboo topics such as sex, addiction, mental health and familial relationships. A Confessional Poet’s emotional authenticity draws on personal experiences and real situations, giving “negative” emotions—fear, anger, sadness, impotence—the attention and artistic relevance traditionally reserved for “positive” emotions. Where sonnets are often associated with love, and epics ultimately celebrate strength, Confessional Poetry exposes and intimately handles private, human pains.

Critic M. L. Rosenthal coined the term “Confessional Poetry” in reviewing Robert Lowell’s Life Studies, published in 1959. The term has since been applied to the works of several poets, primarily Lowell, Anne Sexton, Sylvia Plath and W. D. Snodgrass. In these four cases, the poets knew each other personally, and some critics argue that their works had common characteristics. However, the Confessional Poetry movement has never formed a cohesive group. Critical debate continues over who can and cannot be considered a “Confessional Poet.” Some argue that Plath does not fit in this category, and Snodgrass rejected the label outright. Though the designation of “Confessional Poet” is rare, the writing of Confessional Poetry continues today.

Dark Room Collective

The Dark Room Collective was a Boston-based, Black-centered movement in the 1980s and 1990s.


Feminist poetry is a historically and geographically wide-ranging category, united by the shared goals to foreground feminist ideas and concerns. 


Older and newer Formalist poets foreground, extend, and complicate traditional poetic forms.


The Fugitives were a group of Southern poets in the early 1920s, who were associated with Vanderbilt's Fugitive magazine.

Harlem Renaissance

Poets were core participants in the Harlem Renaissance, an African American artistic and cultural movement centered in Harlem in the 1920s.


Imagist poets were active in the United States and England in the 1910s and promoted the importance of the precise poetic "image."


L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poets were an avant garde group of poets with a postmodernist attention to the constructedness of language, who emerged in the latter half of the twentieth century.


Leftist poetry is a historically and geographically wide-ranging category, united by the shared goals to foreground Leftist ideas and concerns. They were paricularly active in the 1930s.


Modernist poetry is a general umbrella term for poets writing in the first decades of the twentieth century, often with assumptions of shared aesthetic priorities.

New York School

The New York poets found themselves wrapped in art, life, and the human condition, which encompasses the individual verses, their environment, themselves, and even bigger questions. Their fascination with modernism allowed them to craft poetry that not only incorporated their own work but the work of artists around them. Ashbery and O’Hara, for instance, were not only poets, but art critics, and created their books of poetry in the style of the art they critiqued. Ashbery does not only identify himself as a poet but as an art critic; furthermore he has even been quoted saying that he does not like to call himself a poet. Readers understand that his works such as Reported Sightings and Pistils show how the two artforms mingle. Similarly, O’Hara wrote a book titled Jackson Pollock, in which he relays biographical information of the artist himself. The New York poets and their deep connection with their own life and influences set them apart. The New York poets differ from other schools of poetry because they rely on urbanism, the dynamics of language, and visual art to influence their writing and seem to have a firm grip on what the realities of life are. 


Objectivist Poets were a loosely affiliated group of writers in the 1930s and 1940s, focusing on the poem as object.


"Other" is currently a catch-all category for poets who have not yet been more clearly associated with another group or movement.

San Francisco Renaissance

The poets of the San Francisco Renaissance were centered in Berkeley, California in the 1940s.

Southern Agrarian

The Southern Agrarian poets were a group of Southern poets in the 1930s, based at Vanderbilt University. The group overlapped with the Fugitives.

Spoken Word

Spoken Word Poetry is a general term for poetry that emphasizes orality and performance, particularly since the latter decades of the twentieth century.

World War I

Poets known primarily for their involvement in, and writing about, World War I.