Naomi Shihab Nye

Poems About the Great Outdoors


The last full month of summer brings with it an urgency to enjoy the outdoors before fall arrives. Here is a selection of poems about sports, leisure, and summertime... 


"Baseball and Writing" by Marianne Moore
"Sťance at Tennis" by Dana Goodyear
"To An Athlete Dying Young" by A. E. Housman

"Fisherman" by Kurt Brown

"After Skate" by Carol Muske-Dukes

 "Casey at the Bat" by Ernest Lawrence Thayer

 "The Backyard Mermaid" by Matthea Harvey

"Fishing on the Susquehanna in July"  by Billy Collins

"Beach Glass" by Amy Clampitt



Video: Claudia Rankine's Situation One
Academy of American Poets Chancellor Claudia Rankine finds inspiration and room for analysis in a soccer game in her video piece "Situation One." The video explores how linguistic agency emerges from the interaction between two players on opposing teams.
What Do Athletes and Poets Have in Common? 

In her essay "On Poetry and the Reallocation of Concentration: Learning to Forget," Beth Ann Fennelly unpacks psychology professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's term "flow," which refers to the state of deep engagement that writers experience when writing, or what is sometimes referred to as "being in the zone" for athletes. Fennelly invites us to consider what that experience may be like for poets.



Harryette Mullen Listen to 2009 Academy Fellowship recipient Harryette Mullen read her poem "Hiking Up Topanga Canyon." Mullen's new book of poems Urban Tumbleweed: Notes From a Tanka Diary is forthcoming from Graywolf Press this fall. 





Photo credit: Judy Natal

From Our Sponsors:
Boston Review

Kenyon Review Fellowships

92nd Street Y

Thanks for being a part of the Academy of American Poets community. To learn about other programs, including National Poetry Month, Poem in Your Pocket Day, the annual Poets Forum, and more, visit