If coffee and poetry have one thing in common, it’s that they’re subjective. While one person might like a double-shot of espresso to kick-start their day, the next might prefer a cup-o-joe on the lighter and sweeter side. And while some may enjoy the brief and punctuated poetry stylings of e. e. cummings, others may prefer the longer, more introspective free-verse that Walt Whitman brings to the table. To suit your preferences (and perhaps even your mood), we’ve hand-picked 10 poetry and coffee pairings that are sure to satisfy.
The classic latté – “Acquainted with the Night” by Robert Frost
If the classic latté calls your name, perhaps a tried and true poem will, too. “Acquainted with the Night” offers Frost’s comforting alternate rhyme scheme, and a reflective, solitary mood. Plus, the poems cool and rainy backdrop pairs perfectly with a cozy latte.
A cappuccino – “Stolen Moments” by Kim Addonizio
If you’re in the mood for something a bit bolder, sexier, yet smooth, read Kim Addonizio’s “Stolen Moments” with a cappuccino in hand. Her words cut through like the taste of bold coffee, rounded out with a splash of silky milk and foam. This combo will leave you buzzing with energy for the rest of your day.
A shot of espresso – “Lady Lazarus” by Sylvia Plath
This next pairing is not for the faint-hearted. If you prefer to skip the fluff and get straight to the good stuff, “Lady Lazarus” will get your heart racing like a hot shot of espresso. Plath makes every word count in this dark and brutal poem.
Drip coffee, black – “Your Invitation to a Modest Breakfast” by Hannah Gamble
Imagine sipping a steaming cup of black coffee in your favorite greasy-spoon diner—classic, American, and perfectly imperfect. Hannah Gamble’s “Your Invitation to a Modest Breakfast” offers a dark and harsh edge to complement your cup-o-joe.
Cold-brew – “America” by Allen Ginsberg
Chaos meets cool in this energetic coffee and poetry pairing. Let the speedy pace of Ginsberg’s poetry style whisk you along on a whirlwind of contradictions and juxtapositions. And much like Ginsberg’s poetry, a cup of cold brew is surprisingly strong—enough to knock your socks off.
Macchiato – “Awaking in New York” by Maya Angelou
If you’re looking for a quick and bold fix with a smooth, silky finish, a macchiato might just be your main man. “Awaking in New York” by Maya Angelou offers a similar kick. This short poem is strong enough to read a thousand times over and still find something new.
Flat white – “I Heard a Fly Buzz” by Emily Dickinson
No-frills and straight to the point, this poem is served without foam. Dickinson forgoes superfluous language and sticks to the good bits in the death-driven “I Heard a Fly Buzz.” This straightforward drink pairs perfectly with Dickinson’s no-nonsense writing style.
Americano – “The Afterlife” by Billy Collins
This slightly unconventional twist to a classic drink fits in perfectly with Billy Collins’ style. This dark and edgy poem is chock-full of historical references and expanding imagery that’ll leave you with plenty to sip on—no sugar coating in this one.
Mocha – “Love Song” by Dorothy Parker
Grown-ups with a sweet tooth will fall in love with Dorothy Parker’s “Love Song” almost as quickly as they might a good mocha. This sweet and velvety pairing is perfect for those who wear their hearts on their sleeves.
Hot chocolate – “Taking Apart My Childhood Piano” by Rebecca Macijeski
Nostalgia is the name of the game in this caffeine-free drink. Rebecca Macijeski’s “Taking Apart My Childhood Piano” is all about retrospect. Expressed with strong imagery in each stanza, readers take a sweet sip of her personal memories as they go.