11/23/2010 01:30 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Thanksgiving Day 2010: The Best Poems From The Poetry Foundation

Thanksgiving is America's harvest festival--a time to acknowledge the help of family and friends, and a reminder of what a gift it is to be alive. It's a day to overindulge in the here and now, even as we reflect on the past. In other words, it's the perfect holiday for poetry! While a barn full of winter stock and a home overrun with family and friends does not fit with our popular conception of the poet as solitary brooder, these poems show that the occasion has provided poets--from Harriet Maxwell Converse in the 19th century to Elizabeth Alexander in the 21st--with plenty of food for thought. Whether you're looking for a pre-meal toast, a scrap of American history, or a late night conversation starter, these poems should provide ample stuffing.
Toasts and Prayers

A Thanksgiving to God, for his House
By Robert Herrick

Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing
By James Weldon Johnson

The Thanksgivings
By Harriet Maxwell Converse

By Edgar Albert Guest

Family, Food, and Fellowship

By Elizabeth Alexander

Family Reunion
By Maxine W. Kumin

Perhaps the World Ends Here
By Joy Harjo

Stomackes First appeared in Poetry
By Albert Goldbarth

Thanksgiving Magic
By Rowena Bastin Bennett

By Bruce Guernsey

By Eamon Grennan