Relationships with family members can affect us in a profound way. Check out these five poems about the love and challenges families face, which may inspire you to write poems about your own parents, siblings, and other loved ones.
Our family members are often the people we spend the most time with. Sometimes it's easy to feel like we know them even better than we know ourselves. We take to heart what they say, which is why their words can heal us, or hurt us. Family is complicated.
By tapping into your feelings and emotions about parental expectations, loyalty, trust, love, grief, and pride, you’ll find that you have an almost endless source of inspiration for your poetry. These five famous poems about family illustrate just how much creative “material” most families can provide — including your own!
Top Poems About Family
- "Family Reunion" by Jeredith Merrin. This nostalgic family poem touches upon the idea that we need to know where we came from in order to know where we’re going. It’s all too easy to feel removed from your past, but if you don’t “caress your history,” as Merrin writes, “who else will?”
- "A Family History" by Julia Spicher Kasdorf. What do you think your parents were like as little kids, way before you were born? Take a moment to imagine that (based on what you know about them!) and then try crafting a poem, like Kasdorf does in "A Family History".
- "For a Daughter Who Leaves" by Janice Mirikitani. There are few things more emotional than watching a child grow up. In this bittersweet poem about family and parenthood, Mirikitani writes about a mother who is sewing her adult daughter’s wedding slippers and reminiscing about her daughter’s early steps as a child.
- "Grandfather Says" by Ai. Interactions with family members aren’t always positive — some are unfortunately painful and traumatic, as is the one described by the poet Ai. But writing about an experience that hurt you may help you heal. The narrator in this poem comes to terms with abuse she experienced as a child, and begins to understand how it affected her choices later in life.
- "My Aunts" by Meghan O’Rourke. In a fun, energetic fashion, the narrator of "My Aunts" describes how flamboyant and lovable her aunts are by using detailed descriptions. At the end of the poem, she becomes aware of how this group of women — even a group so full of life — is still merely mortal.
Explore other poems about family and friendships for more inspiration on how to write about your own important relationships and family history. When you're ready to share, consider posting your poem on Power Poetry to connect with a community of supportive poets and peers!