Who wrote the Statue of Liberty Poem?

Statue of Liberty Poem – The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus

The Statue of Liberty Poem is The New Colossus written by Emma Lazarus. Visitors can read some verses written, naturally, in English in the Statue of Liberty’s base. This memorial was added to the base in 1903; she was not present at the inauguration.

The Statue of Liberty Poem

Statue of Liberty Poem – The new Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name

Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she

With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Who wrote the Statue of Liberty Poem?

Who wrote the Statue of Liberty Poem?

This poem is taken from Emma Lazarus’ sonnet New Colossus, which she composed for an auction to help fund the pedestal that the Statue of Liberty now stands on. The poem received little attention and was quickly forgotten after the auction.

The story of the poem’s creation has spread almost as widely as the lines of Lazarus’ poem. The Jewish Lazarus was a prolific writer in a variety of genres, a political activist, a translator, and a friend of late-nineteenth-century literati such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and James Russell Lowell. 

After some persuasion from friends, she wrote the sonnet for an auction to raise funds for the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty. However, the details of the poem’s creation and its author’s biography do not fully capture the circumstances surrounding its creation, circumstances that help to explain the poem’s message to its impoverished masses.

After Lazarus passed away in the early 1900s, one of her friends started a campaign to honor Lazarus and her New Colossus sonnet. As a result of the successful effort, the statue’s pedestal now contains a plaque with the text of the poem on it.

The Emma Lazarus Project


Similar to Robert Frost’s 1916 poem “The Road Not Taken,” “The New Colossus” is one of those poems that is frequently rediscovered and reframed. Lazarus’s sonnet is revived by authors, readers, and politicians to speak directly to the present, when anti-black racism, xenophobia, immigration restrictions, and refugee crises define the terms of political discourse in the U.S. and Europe. 

It is unclear whether “The New Colossus”‘ popularity is a result of the poem’s timeless quality, curious forgettability, or its “schmaltzy ” sincerity.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the Statue of Liberty poem?

The Statue of Liberty poem was inscribed on a plaque as well as placed on the inner wall of the Statue of Liberty pedestal in 1903. The plaque is currently visible inside the pedestal of the statue, and the Statue of Liberty Museum also houses an exact replica of the original.

What does the poem on the Statue of Liberty mean?

She tells ancient Greece to retain her “storied pomp” and instead give her the tired, poor, and homeless. The sonnet on the plaque has permanently altered the statue’s purpose, despite the fact that it was never intended for immigration or hope, only for friendship between the United States and France.

Is The New Colossus a sonnet?

“The New Colossus” is a classic Petrarchan sonnet. Two ABBA quatrains are included in the octave. Two new words—”she” and “poor”—were added to the sonic vocabulary in the sestet, which was divided into two tercets, the first of which was CDC and the second of which was DCD. Sound tightly wraps the sonnet, giving it energy.

What is the vital message of The New Colossus?

The framers of Emma Lazarus’ poem “The New Colossus” are male versus female perceptions of greatness as well as the immigrant experience. The Statue of Liberty should be understood as the United States’ symbolic gesture of welcoming immigrants and providing them with opportunity and hope, according to the poet’s main message.

The poem by Lazarus begins by rejecting the greatness that Comey calls the poem’s testimony to. It goes on to refute nationalist narratives that are based on historical assertions of possession of antiquity: “Keep, antiquity, your storied pomp!”. Statue of Liberty Poem is meaningful and timeless.

What is your thought about this poem? Comment below to share with other Artseensoho readers.

Explore more: Statue Of Liberty Torch

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