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10 Contemporary Poets You Need To Read

Do You Know These Poets?

We can easily name some of the greatest poets who have ever lived, such as Walt Whitman, Robert Frost and Emily Dickinson, but do we know much about our modern poets?

In the past poets were known because of their published works, where this day and age modern poets can use social media. There are so many talented poets out there it can be hard to keep track of them all.

Some people claim poetry as a dying art, but these modern poets show that this is definitely not true.

Check out these contemporary poets below that you might not have heard off.

Full article here.


1. Claudia Rankine


Claudia Rankine’s Citizen: An American Lyric was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award in both Poetry and Criticism, winning for Poetry. The dual nominations illustrate the power and timeliness of Rankine’s poems to discourse on race in America.


2. Carolyn Forche


Carolyn Forche most famously coined the term “poetry of witness,” which came in the aftermath of her observations with Amnesty International of civil war in El Salvador in the late 1970s, resulting in The Country Between Us. Her poetry challenges the distinctions between personal and political when writing about the world around us.

3. Natasha Trethewey


Appointed as U.S. Poet Laureate from 2012–2014, Natasha Trethewey explores the intersections of race, art, and history in Bellocq’s Ophelia and in her 2006 Pulitzer Prize-winning Native Guard.


4. Gregory Pardlo


The winner of the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for Digest, Gregory Pardlo looks at the American identity through the lenses of fatherhood and race, while acknowledging the ever-present past.

5. Charles Simic


A former U.S. Poet Laureate, Pulitzer Prize winner, and MacArthur Foundation fellow with over 30 books of poetry, Charles Simic’s accomplishments qualify him as one of America’s most important poetic voices.


6. Marie Howe


The 2012–2014 Poet Laureate of New York state, Marie Howe is best known for What The Living Do, which unflinchingly dealt with the AIDS crisis through a personal lens: Howe’s brother John died of complications from AIDS.


7. Rickey Laurentiis


A recipient of multiple poetry fellowships, from the National Endowment for the Arts to the Poetry Foundation, Rickey Laurentiis’ poems examine how the collective American past is still an active force in the present. His forthcoming book Boy With A Thorn was selected for the 2014 Cave Canem Poetry Prize.


8. Jane Hirshfield


Jane Hirshfield’s poetry is influenced by her personal Buddhist faith, though she prefers not to labeled. “I am a human poet, that’s all,” she told Spirituality and Healthin 2013. Notably, Hirshfield was one of the first women to graduate from Princeton. Her eighth book of poetry, The Beauty, was released last month.

9. Cathy Park Hong


The recipient of multiple fellowships, including a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, Cathy Park Hong’s poems are referential and fragmented in form. In her latest book Engine Empire, Hong juxtaposes the worlds of the old American West with industrialized China, and our increasing dependence on collective and digitized data.


10. Eileen Myles


2012 Guggenheim Fellow Eileen Myles uses bold imagery and unexpected line breaks in her quick-voiced poems, most recently in her two-part collection Snowflake / different streets. She also famously participated in a write-in campaign for the 1992 presidential election.

Image and Article Credit: Thanks Buzzfeed