18 More Modern Poets You Should Know
Categories: Creativity

18 More Modern Poets You Should Know

In honor of World Poetry Day, you might pull out your favorite book of poems, Shakespeare sonnet, Robert Frost narrative or even Shel Silverstein rhyme. But what about the writers of today — have you discovered any new work lately?  Well you’re in luck, because we’re sharing a new batch of both established and emerging modern poets from around the world who continue to prove that poetry is far from a lost art.

1. Cate Marvin: If dark humor is your cup of tea, then Cate is your girl. She’s often compared to Sylvia Plath, something she considers a compliment because “she was one funny mother******.”  Check out her work for themes of adolescence, womanhood and bad romance. (Photo by Rex Lott/Poetry Foundation)

Read This: “Oracle”

2. Julia Alvarez: You already may be familiar with this author’s novels, such as In the Time of the Butterflies and How the García Girls Lost Their Accents. But what you might not know is that she’s also an acclaimed poet, frequently writing about childhood, identity and her experience as a Dominican American. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Read This: “Hairbands”

3. Terrance Hayes: In 2014, after being nominated for and winning several poetry prizes, Terrance was named a MacArthur Foundation fellow, which is one of the most prestigious grants in the creative arts. His poetry explores themes of music, race and pop culture. (Photo by Becky Thurner Braddock/Terrance Hayes)

Read This: “The Blue Seuss”

4. Mary Karr: Seeing as she’s also a successful memoirist, it makes sense that Mary’s poetry is often autobiographical, including stories of drug use, marriage and divorce and alcoholism. She was even in a very tumultuous relationship with David Foster Wallace at one point, whom she wrote about in the poem below. (Photo via Mary Karr)

Read This: “Suicide’s Note: An Annual”

5. Mahogany L. Browne: Mahogany is all over New York’s poetry scene, from hosting and curating the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, to co-founding an Off-Broadway poetry production, to producing NYC’s first performance poetry festival. (Photo by Arnold Adler/Poets House)

Read/Watch This:Black Girl Magic”

6. Brenda Shaughnessy: In her latest collection, Our Andromeda, Brenda uses vivid imagery and wordplay to escape to a parallel universe to explore the common themes of love, loss and time. (Photo via Poetry Foundation)

Read This: “Liquid Flesh”

7. Kevin Young: From Harvard to Stanford to Brown, this prolific poet is now entrusted with curating the Raymond Danowski Poetry Library at Emory University, home to over 75,000 volumes. As for his own collections, Kevin’s themes span everything from family drama to slavery and history. (Photo via Kevin Young)

Read This: “Charity”

8. Natasha Trethewey: There’s been no shortage of accolades for this poet. She won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for her book, Native Guard, became the United States Poet Laureate in 2012 and is now the current Poet Laureate for her home state of Mississippi. (Photo by Jeff Etheridge/Poetry Foundation)

Read This: “Elegy”

9. Melissa Broder: Do you follow @SoSadToday on Twitter? Then you’re already familiar with some of Melissa’s work. She uses the 140-character limit of Twitter as an art form, both in her sadness account and her actual account, and is now publishing those works in actual collections. (Photo via Emily Books)

Read This: “Waterfall” and others

10. Mark Bibbins: In addition to being poetry editor for The Awl, Mark’s own biting, sardonic poetry covers everything from politics to sexuality. (Photo via BOMB Magazine)

Read This: “Worst Things First”

11. Claudia Rankine: Claudia is known for being experimental with genres, switching between prose, poetry and imagery. A great example of this is Citizen: An American Lyric, which is a long-form poem about race in America. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images for NAACP Image Awards)

Read This: Excerpt from “Citizen: An American Lyric”

12. Musa Okwonga: Praise for Musa is as diverse as his many talents (poet, current affairs writer, sports writer, musician and more). His first book of poetry features cover quotes from the likes of Ed Sheeran and Kate Tempest, while his opinion pieces are lauded by J.K. Rowling. Check his poem about Internet trolls to see why everyone is talking about him. (Photo by Naomi Woddis/Musa Okwonga)

Read/Watch This: “Invisible Men”

13. Kay Ryan: Kay has had an exceptional career as a poet, having received both the Pulitzer and the MacArthur Genius Grant, and serving two consecutive terms as US Poet Laureate. She’s even credited with coining the term “recombinant rhyme,” meaning a rhyme that takes place in the middle of words, rather than the ends. (Photo via John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation)

Read This: “A Cat/A Future” and others

14. Deborah Landau: Deborah is known for her direct writing style and sharp wit, landing her latest collection, The Uses of the Body, on top lists from sources as varied as The New York Times and O, the Oprah Magazine. (Photo by Sarah Shatz/Poetry Foundation)

Read This: Excerpt from The Uses of the Body

15. Kei Miller: Although Kei eventually moved to the U.K. to study English literature, he was born and raised in Jamaica. He talks about this dual identity in his poetry, writing about both belonging and alienation, as well as Caribbean issues. (Photo by Marion James/Under the Saltire Flag)

Read This: “Speaking in Tongues”

16. Don Paterson: This Scottish poet first pursued music before turning his gift for lyricism into a career in written word. In addition to poetry, he is also trying to revive the aphorism (Think back to English class: It’s a short, pithy statement of general truth). For example: “The aphorism is a brief waste of time. The poem is a complete waste of time. The novel is a monumental waste of time.” ;) (Photo by Murdo Macleod/Poetry Foundation)

Read This: “The White Lie”

17. Kima Jones: Whether she’s writing in stanzas or paragraphs, Kima’s writing is always poetic. As a queer black woman, her work often covers topics of sexuality and the black body. Look out for her first collection, The Anatomy of Forgiveness, which is underway.  (Photo via Kima Jones)

Read This: “Fresh”

18. Louise Glück: If you’re already a fan of poetry, then you already know Louise. She’s been on the scene for a long time now, having served as US Poet Laureate in the mid-‘90s and receiving such prizes as the Pulitzer and National Book Award for Poetry. The Wild Iris is her best-known collection. (Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images)

Read Listen to This: “The Wild Iris”

Which of these poems resonated with you? Share your personal favorite with us @BritandCo.