Inside : 41+ good poem titles that grab reader attention and effectively capture the essence of the poems themselves.
While poetry can often seem like an art form with strict rules and guidelines including rhyme, meter, and structure, it can actually be quite abstract. Though rigid formats including sonnet, Haiku, and villanelles are traditional, it is just as common to make use of free or blank verse, wherein the rules are vague or nonexistent. Regardless of format, there are virtually no poetry rules regarding the subject or the title of your work: you can write one about anything you’d like.
When the possibilities are nearly endless, it can be difficult to think up an effective, creative poem title. Even famous artists find that writing a good poem title can be harder than writing the poem itself. Read further for some inspiration for creating a good poem title that captures the attention of your audience, but also nicely summarizes your words.
Good Poem Titles About Life
Since poetry has historically been used as a medium for connecting with other humans, a good chunk of all the world’s poetry is written about life itself. “Life” as a topic can be vague and broad, and so creating a poem title about life can feel overwhelming. Here’s a list of good poem titles about life:
- If by Rudyard Kipling. This is a lengthy piece, but “If” is such a good poem title about life because the word “if” brings about a world of possibility, which reflects the meaning of the art itself.
- The Girl Who Was Afraid to Be by Nikita Gill. This is a good poem title that entices readers because it almost seems like the name of a story, and they’ll want to read on.
- How Did You Die? by Edmund Vance Cooke. This very forward title immediately evokes emotion in audiences. Making use of a question is also an innovative technique for creating good poem titles.
- Thank You by Ross Gay. While the phrase “thank you” alone doesn’t signify that this is written about life, it is unique and reflects the message that the author is trying to convey, which is to be grateful for living.
- Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep by Mary Elizabeth Frye.
- Life Cycle of a Common Man by Howard Nemerov.
- Life After Fiction by Cathryn Essinger.
- The Pull.
- Relive & Relieve.
- “This Life.” You can get creative and think of variations of this for a good poem title about life that reflects the topic or emotions of your writing, including the following:
- “This Complicated Life.”
- “This Long Life.”
- “This Simple, Lovely Life.”
- “What it Means to Live.”
Creative Poetry Titles
Many authors tend to name their works after the subject of the poem or after a word that appears in the lines of the piece. However, it’s very common for titles to be words that do not appear anywhere in the lines, or that seemingly have nothing to do with the work itself. These creative poetry titles reflect the nature of poetry itself: a sense of abstractness wherein the reader interprets the art in their own subjective way.
- Having a Coke with You by Frank O’Hara. “Having a coke with you” is a phrase that simply describes a very specific situation, and people want to read how such a seemingly commonplace situation could warrant an entire poem.
- Revolutionary Letter #1 by Diane di Prima. Including the number “one” makes for a very effective and creative poetry title; readers want to know if there are other letters that will follow this one, and why this is #1.
- Another Reason Why I Don’t Keep a Gun in the House by Billy Collins. The word “another” gives readers a sense of connection to the writer, like they already know all of the other reasons. The word “gun” is also very attention-grabbing.
- Ruth by Pauli Murray. When artists title their work with a name, they signify that it’s very personal. However, audiences still want to read to find out what is so important about the titular individual that made someone write a poem about them!
- Diet Moons by Diane Wakoski. No one knows what the heck a “diet moon” is. This is an incredibly effective, good poem title because few people have ever heard this phrase, so they’re going to want to find out what it means.
- A Boat Down the River of Yellow Silt by Kimiko Hahn.
- Advice to Young Poets by Martin Espada.
- Becoming a Forest by Ama Codjoe.
- Coca Morning by Bob Kaufman.
- Run. The word “run” gives readers an immediate jolt, and a sense of urgency or even fear that will make them need to read further.
- Rough Draft.
- “I Wrote This in the Dark.”
- “A Poem for You.”
- “Don’t Read This.”
Famous Poems with Great Titles
Many famous poems have been circulated for centuries. They retain their popularity due to their ability to tap into our deepest emotions and the human experiences that connect us. However, some famous poems are widely known for their notorious titles. The following are works of art that almost everyone knows of simply because they have such good poem titles.
- The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost. By now, you might have noticed that the best titles elicit curiosity. Titles that make the reader curious make the reader determined to find out what the rest of the piece is about, and what it could mean.
- Still I Rise by Maya Angelou. Written by one of the most well-known authors today, the title is attention-grabbing because it’s a sentence fragment which is something one doesn’t typically hear in conversation, and its brevity is intriguing. “Still I Rise” from what? Readers want to find out.
- The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe. Everyone knows Edgar Allen Poe’s foreboding raven and the ominous, gloomy feeling it emits, which is why the title is so effective.
- How Do I Love Thee? by Elizabeth Barret Browning. This is a good example of a creative poem title that is actually used as the first line of the poem. The rest of the lines answer the question asked in the title.
- Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night by Dylan Thomas.
- Song of Myself by Walt Whitman.
- Hope is the Thing With Feathers by Emily Dickinson.
- This is the Poem I Did Not Write by Rita Dove.
- The Poem I Didn’t Write by Raymond Carver.
- I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou.
- The Waste Land by T.S. Elliot.
More Poems That You’ll Love
The wonderful thing about poetry is that anyone can write it, and it can be written about any topic. To gather inspiration for your own art and poetry, you don’t have to read genres or authors that are similar to what you write. Reading a variety of poetry is a great way to generate creativity and find new ideas regarding structure, content, and style. Check out these poetry collections to spark your inner artist!
- 30 Passionate Poems About Love. One of the most common topics to write poetry about is love. Love evokes a feeling of deep passion that often begs to come out in creative outlets. This list is bound to elicit romantic feelings and ideas for good poem titles.
- 30 Warming Winter Poems. In the cold winter months, we tend to find comfort in cozying up indoors with some good reading. Check out this list of winter poems that capture that cozy feeling and will make you feel warm and fuzzy.
- 27 Impactful Wolf Poems. Wolves are mystifying creatures that are rarely seen in real life unless you’re deep in nature. They are known for their strength and for their pack-mindedness. These poems are about wolves, but they capture themes of loyalty, independence, strength, and the beauty of nature.