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World’s Poetry Day 2022: Contemporary poets you must be reading

Annually, World Poetry Day is celebrated on 21 March, and was declared by UNESCO in 1999, “with the aim of supporting linguistic diversity through poetic expression and increasing the opportunity for endangered languages to be heard”.

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Without poetry, the world would be a very dry place to be in. Poetry is all about emotions and feelings that cannot be shared in words. The things that cannot be defined or told in a logical manner can only be defined by the lyrics of a poem. Out of the wreckage of human life, a poet forges a hopeful vision of a shared future. 

Annually, World Poetry Day is celebrated on 21 March, and was declared by UNESCO in 1999, “with the aim of supporting linguistic diversity through poetic expression and increasing the opportunity for endangered languages to be heard”.

There are many acknowledged poets today as we have ample platforms to showcase our art and share it with the world. Here we are listing a few that are contemporary poets in the world.

Ocean Vuong
“I’m like at least 4x stronger than I look.” writes in his Instagram bio. He is a Vietnamese American poet, essayist, and novelist. In his work, he often explores transformation, desire, and violent loss. In an interview with Edward J. Rathke in 2013, Vuong discussed the relationship between form and content in his work, stating that “Besides being a vehicle for the poem’s movement, I see form as … an extension of the poem’s content, a space where tensions can be investigated even further. The way the poem moves through space, its enjambment or end-stopped line breaks, its utterances and stutters, all work in tangent with the poem’s conceit.” Vuong is a recipient of the 2014 Ruth Lilly/Sargent Rosenberg fellowship from the Poetry Foundation, a 2016 Whiting Award, and the 2017 T.S. Eliot Prize for his poetry. His debut novel, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, was published in 2019.

Warsan Shire

Warsan Shire is a Somali poet and writer from Kenya who is now based in London. She is a British poet, editor and teacher. In 2013 she was awarded the inaugural Brunel University African Poetry Prize, chosen from a shortlist of six candidates out of a total 655 entries. Her 2011 collection “Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth” is as striking as its title. Online, try her poems “Backwards” and “Conversations About Home (At the Deportation Centre)”.

William James Collins

He is an American poet, appointed as Poet Laureate of the United States from 2001 to 2003. He is a Distinguished Professor at Lehman College of the City University of New York. One of his works “the most popular poet in America” was published in the New York Times, Billy Collins is famous for conversational, witty poems that welcome readers with humor but often slip into quirky, tender, or profound observation on every day, reading and writing, and poetry itself. 

His work has been featured in the Pushcart Prize anthology and has been chosen several times for the annual Best American Poetry series.

Eileen Myles

Over the last three decades, Eileen Myles has produced more than twenty volumes of poetry, fiction, non-fiction, libretti, plays, and performance pieces. He is a LAMBDA Literary Award-winning American poet and writer. Dennis Cooper describes Myles as “one of the savviest and most restless intellectuals in contemporary literature.” Holland Cotter names Myles as “a cult figure to a generation of post-punk female writer-performers.”