By Annika Tomlin
“Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.” —Robert Frost. When the poem is a few short sentences or well-written pages of prose, poetry can make people feel readers a range of emotions.To celebrate Great Poetry Reading Day on April 28, here are 11 poets to consider reading.
11. Robert Frost
Most have read Robert Frost’s 1916 poem “The Road Not Taken” at some point, or at least they know the final stanza of the poem, “Two roads parted in a wood, and I – / I took the one less traveled / And that made all the difference.” This four-time Pulitzer Prize winner was known for his realistic portrayals of 20th-century rural New England life and his mastery of colloquial American speech. Other famous poems include “Nothing Gold Can Stay”, “Fire and Ice”, “Mending Wall”, “Birches” and “Home Burial”.
10. Li Bai
Born in 701 AD, Li Bai was an acclaimed Chinese poet who has been called a genius and a romantic. Since its conception in the Tang Dynasty, “Quiet Night Thought” remains one of Bai’s most memorable poems. It is featured in anthologies of classical Chinese poetry, such as the “Three Hundred Tang Poems”, and is taught in Chinese language schools.
9. Frank O’Hara
Francis Russell “Frank” O’Hara was an American writer, poet, and art critic as well as a curator at the Museum of Modern Art. His work was heavily influenced by New York, Jazz, Surrealism, Abstract Impressionism and other progressive movements. His well-known poems include “Music”, “Homosexuality”, “The Day Lady Died” and “Having a Coke with You”, the latter being read in the 2011 film “Beastly”.
8. Warsan County
Unlike previous poets, Warsan Shire, a British Somali writer and poet, is alive. On March 1, she released her first collection of poems, “Bless the Daughter Raised by a Voice in Her Head: Poems.” The poems span the famed collaborator’s migration, femininity, trauma and resilience on Beyonce’s “Lemonade” and “Black is King.” Her poem “For Women Who Are Hard to Love” piqued Beyonce’s interest.
7. Langston Hughes
Born in the early 20th century, Langston Hughes was an early innovator of the literary art form called jazz poetry. Hughes is best known as a leader of the Harlem Renaissance, which was heavily referenced in his work. Her first collection of poetry, “The Weary Blues”, included works on inequality (“I, Too”), resilience (“Mother to Son”), pride (“My People”), hope ( “Freedom’s Plow”) and music (“The Trumpeter”).
6. Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou was an American author, poet, and civil rights activist who rose to fame with the publication of her first of seven autobiographies, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.” Between childhood trauma and life as a performer, Angelou’s work included themes of racism, identity, family and travel. One of his most famous poems is “Still I Rise,” which speaks of black adversity and rises triumphantly despite it.
5. Fatimah Asgar
Another living poet, Fatimah Asghar is a South Asian American poet who writes about being a woman, an orphan, and a young Pakistani Muslim pushed into contemporary America at a young age. In her debut collection of poetry, “If They Come for Us,” Asghar conveys angst, joy, vulnerability, and compassion, while exploring the many facets of violence.
4. Gregory Pardlo
Gregory Pardlo is an American poet, writer, and teacher who won a Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 2015 for his poetry collection “Digest.” Judges Pulitzer cited Pardlo’s work as “clear-voiced poems that bring readers the news of 21st-century America, rich with thoughts, ideas, and public and private stories.” Some of his famous poems include “Written by Himself” and “Wishing Well”.
3. Rupi Kaur
Canadian poet of Indian origin, Rupi Kaur began her career by self-publishing “Milk and Honey” at 21 years old. Adding “The Sun and Her Flowers” and “Home Body” to her collection, Kaur will embark on a world tour this year. . Her work touches on love, trauma, healing, femininity and migration. She also illustrated her books.
2. Edgar Poe
From works such as “The Tell-Tale Heart” and “The Raven”, Edgar Allan Poe was an American writer, poet, editor, and literary critic. Poe’s mysterious and macabre stories leave readers wondering what’s next. Other well-known works include “Annabel Lee”, “The City in the Sea” and “Eldorado”.
1. Amanda Gorman
Named the first national youth poet laureate, Amanda Gorman’s poem “The Hill We Climb,” delivered at the inauguration of President Joe Biden, has garnered international acclaim. Her work focuses on issues of oppression, feminism, race and marginalization as well as the African diaspora. She recently released her latest collection of poetry, titled “Call Us What We Carry”, which includes her maiden poem. CT