Good Poems includes poems about lovers, children, failure, everyday life, death, and transcendence. It features the work of classic poets, such as Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, and Robert Frost, as well as the work of contemporary greats such as Howard Nemerov, Charles Bukowski, Donald Hall, Billy Collins, Robert Bly, and Sharon Olds.
The poems are read by Keillor and a number of the poets included in the collection. Some are wise, some are funny, some are soothing or heartwarming. All were chosen for their wit, frankness, passion, and, in Keillor's words, their "utter clarity in the face of everything else a person has to deal with at 7 a.m."