Poetry is an accessible, tangible method for injecting beauty and understanding into our daily lives. It stretches our imaginations, surprising us with subtle variations (or at times complete transformations) of the use of the very language we speak every day. In doing so, it has the rare capacity to breathe new life into the way we see the world around us, and sometimes even the way we see ourselves.
Thanks in part to social media, we have seen a resurgence of the modern poet, and we could not be more pleased. Here are six contemporary poets to know and why each voice is uniquely compelling.
1. Rupi Kaur is the “mother” of Milk and Honey, her New York Times bestselling debut collection of poetry and prose. In her craft, she documents both beauty and bitterness, as well as the search for something sweet amid those bitter times. Her words are poignant, simultaneously heartbreaking and soul-mending. In her book, she states that as a writer, you must not trade honesty for relatability. Somehow, brilliantly, she has managed to achieve both in a very natural way. To accompany her thoughtful poetry, her book includes many of her own illustrations, which serve to add another creative layer. Her Instagram account combines her poetry, illustrations, photography and video content, all of which are lovely and thought-provoking.
2. Dominican-born Mirtha Michelle Castro Marmol writes in a way that feels passionate, candid and raw. She is the author of Letters, To The Men I Have Loved, and Elusive Loves; Amores Esquivos. The first includes both letters and poems, expressing her transition from a younger version of herself into the woman she is now. The latter is a beautiful, bilingual collection of love poems.
3. Christopher Poindexter waxes rhapsodic about love in a way that will make you want to pour two glasses of red wine and dance with your significant other in the kitchen, or simply read his poetry for hours and hours on end. He has a way of delivering his message in a clear yet deeply moving manner. His most recent work is a limited release book called Lavender, and if you are interested in reading it, you may consider grabbing it quickly before it sells out!
4. Kat Savage writes some of the most striking lines. Here's one example: "Every girl who has ever been in love is composed of stars and sadness." Her work is captivating and heartfelt. She has written two books, Mad Woman and Anchors & Vacancies. She also maintains a shop on Etsy for her books and signed poems, as well as her hand-typed and signed bookmarks.
5. Cleo Wade is a poet, artist and speaker with a powerful voice of both love and positivity. Her boldly creative mind and vibrant personality are evident through her work, and she has a way of making you feel that each handwritten note she shares on Instagram (complete with her signature line, “Love Cleo”) may have actually been written especially for you. In addition to her online work, Cleo creates large-scale public art pieces as part of her belief that art is for everyone. She has created two such pieces in her native city, New Orleans, titled Respect and She. Cleo’s poetry is a modern-day treasure and a medium for empowering women everywhere.
6. Some time ago, J. Iron Word was the initial contemporary poet to really catch our attention on Instagram. With verses so lovely as, “I would rather be tangled in your storm, than roam freely in this thing called life,” we quickly found ourselves scouring the internet for more. On Etsy, he sells his original poems, which are hand-typed on white linen paper and ready to be framed. He is also set to have a book of his poetry released later this fall, so stay tuned!
If you don’t already, we encourage you to take the time for yourself to indulge in a few lines of inspired, contemporary poetry. You may just catch yourself deciding that you adore it and scouring the internet for more!
p.s. If you are looking for further inspiration, check out 2 Elizabeths, a grassroots short fiction and poetry publication, featuring both emerging and established artists, launching this November.