One thing I’ve learned as someone who works in book publishing and writes for a blog is that a lot of people who work with writers dream of being writers themselves. Most of my colleagues were Lit Majors or Creative Writing Minors, some are currently applying to MFA programs, and some secretly (or perhaps not so secretly) have half-written novels they eventually hope to publish.
I am no exception. As a kid, I was extremely into poetry and even won an award for a poem I penned when I was eight-years old. This was pretty much the height of my fame (#humblebrag). But as I got older, I forgot about the power of poetry, and forgot how to write it. Today, somewhat improbably, Instagram (of all places!) has led to what feels like a poetry resurgence. (Yeats is turning in his grave as you read this.) I found Rupi Kaur, Yrsa Daley-Ward, Nikita Gill, and Atticus on the gram—and felt my faith in the form renewed, knowing that poetry could be more than Shakespeare and iambic pentameter. It could be frivolous verses full of meaning written on a scrap piece of paper. It could be written by a lot of women of color.
In honor of poetry, and my renewed love of it, here are some of my favorite verses from fresh poets you should read to expand your appreciation of the genre—because there is so much more to it than Frost, Whitman, Dickinson, and Wordsworth. (Not that I am knocking them.)