I am that annoyingly pretentious arsehole who reads out soppy poetry to you while you are trying to watch masterchef on a Saturday evening. Most nights I will ask my boyfriend the question I am sure that he dreads each day. ‘Do you want to hear a great poem’? He momentarily lifts his head from his phone and resists the urge to roll his weary eyes. Resignedly he nearly always surrenders to listen despite having little to no interest in poems and considering them to be the equivalent of an ambiguous foreign language. Occasionally and I mean VERY occasionally I will find one that actually resonates with him and that is the best feeling ever. To me the written word is just the most magical thing. I live to inspire others to read and to write and to appreciate the impact that language can have. I get it, poetry isn’t for everyone. I am not here to change your mind, only to open it to the possibility that you MIGHT find something to love about this art form. Below are five poets that deserve a chance even if you remain convinced that poetry is for middle aged white men or GCSE students.
Dean Atta is bloody cool. He is a seriously talented, nationally acclaimed poet and performer. He was listed by The Independent newspaper as one of the most influential LGBT people in the UK, his work focusing on gender, identity, race and growing up. His first verse novel, The Black Flamingo is a work of art. It follows Michael, a young mix raced, gay teen growing up in central London. We venture with him on a profound and vibrant journey of self-discovery and acceptance.
Rupi Kaur is a poet that needs no introduction. She is unbelievably talented, she wrote and self-punished her first collection Milk and Honey by the time she was 21!!!! Her collections are focus on love, loss, trauma, healing, feminism and migration.
Charley Cox is funny, brave and brilliant. Her work is totally heartfelt, relatable and has that incredibly and enviable power of making her readers feel less alone. She writes about growing up and focuses on the formative experiences for young women including themes like love, heartbreak, confusion and anxiety.
A golden oldie. No poetry page would be complete without a spot of E.E Cummings. This guy wrote an astounding 2,900 poems and is regarded as one of Americas most important poets of the 20th century. His poems are, of course quite traditional but they do have a modern twist and he really was ahead of his time.
Romantic, bohemian and super unique, Christopher Poindexter gives me ALL the feels. He considers himself an observer of human connection and is able to perfectly articulate all that grit and glory that companies being human through his work. His poems are hauntingly beautiful.