What is it about “Tears, Idle Tears” and “The Road Not Taken?”

They’re both fine poems, but they’re not the finest poems in the English language. But students continually choose them when they’re given a choice.

They must be coming up first in some kind of search engine, because even Chinese students, with no exposure to English poetry at all, always seem to want to choose them.

I’m giving them the Academy of American Poets website as a possible resource, so they must be searching for some keyword consistently that’s bringing up these two poems. But what?

I could ask them, of course, but the ones who are choosing these poems are also the ones who are having the most trouble even communicating with me in spoken English.

I do want to give them free choice, but I also want to push for a little more variety in that choice!