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Dec 16 2015
by Natalee Gustin

4 Modern Poets that Will Make You Rethink Poetry

By Natalee Gustin - Dec 16 2015

Poetry, in general, has the stigma of being thick, slow, indecipherable and in some cases, boring. However, modern poetry is revitalizing the genre, delivering fresh takes. So, I hereby allow you to forget everything you slept through in High School poetry lessons -- these modern poets write pieces that are poignant, relatable, comprehensible, and will make you fall in love with the beautiful art that is the written word.

1. Sarah Kay

A New York City native, Sarah Kay is primarily a spoken word poet that writes about pretty much everything. She has poems about memories, questioning your identity, being in love, childhood, and general notes on life. Her words are beautifully crafted and she makes you realize that some words are just meant to be attached to one another. Check out her absolutely incredible collection of poems called “No Matter the Wreckage”.  

2. Tyler Knott Gregson

If you’ve ever been on Pinterest, you’ve probably seen Tyler Knott Gregson’s pieces of work. He uses an antique typewriter to write his poems because he loves the “urgency, the particular inability to erase, edit, and alter” his works. He claims that he is a “memory keeper” and a “chaser of the light” -- his poems explore the simple beauty of life and and love and what it means to be human. I could talk about his pieces all day; they make your heart full, your brain think, and his ability to put emotions into words is uncanny.

3. Carol Ann Duffy

A renowned poet, Carol Ann Duffy has multiple collections that cover a wide range of topics. My personal favorite is her collection entitled “The World’s Wife”. These poems explore the untold stories of female figures (both fictional and nonfictional) such as Anne Hathaway (Shakespeare’s wife), Mrs. Midas and Elvis’s twin sister. Duffy presents perspectives of these women in unique and controversial ways. Learn more about Carol Ann Duffy and "The World's Wife" here.

4. Rudy Francisco

Also primarily a spoken word poet, Rudy Francisco’s poems grip with honesty and his words hit you right in the heart. He writes mostly about racism and inequality, and his poems range from loving to angry to confused. He will make you laugh, cringe, cry, and think; his poems often begin with small moments that reveal a more important message. 

Liked these poets and want more? Check out Clementine von Radics, Lang Leav, and Christopher Poindexter. Lead image credit:

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Natalee Gustin - University of Minnesota Twin Cities

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