Poetry has been merging literature and art for many, many years. The act of masking a powerful message behind beautiful words and emotions has drawn people to execute their messages for centuries upon centuries. Poets from Shakespeare to Rupi Kaur are well known for their written forms of art, yet there is a new wave of emerging poets who are slowly gaining popularity, and should be recognized for their wonderful and inspiring works of art. While this is only a small portion of inspiring new-age poets, this is just a starting guide into the vast world of poetry.
- Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib
Willis- Abdurraqib is a poet, music critic, editor for Union Station Magazine and a poetry editor at Muzzle Magazine. He is also a Callaloo Creative Writing Fellow and Capital University Poetry Prize winner. His well-known poem “The Crown Ain’t Worth Much” explains only six minutes worth of the endless African American culture and police brutality that sadly exists in this country. With proficiency and brilliance his theme of black resilience and an ode to the strength of his people allows an intimate look at the reality of black America. His debut book “The Crown Ain’t Worth Much” is a continuation of this poem. Other slam poems that include “Ode to Kanye West,” “Washington Bullets” and “All the Gangbangers Forgot About the Drive-By” continue this pro-black theme. Willis-Abdurraqib personally thinks that poems can change the world, and I strongly agree. (Photo: Argo Radio)
- Neil Hilborn
Neil Hilborn is a spoken and written word poet most popularly known for his viral slam poem “OCD.” Remaining a College National Poetry Slam champion, a former member of the Macalester Poetry Slam team as well as the Minneapolis Adult National Poetry Slam team, Hilborn’s niche is obviously poetry. He writes about his experiences with mental illness, love, and simple observations of life, and his second book, “Our Numbered Days,” encompasses just that. His debut collection, “Clatter,” includes poems doused with humor and heartbreak, an unlikely combination, yet still remains to tell a beautiful tale that is his life. Hilborn manages to tell stories of mental illness with such detail and carefulness in order for his message to be sent. His poems entice the regular mind but provide a lesson in mental health and the importance of it. (Photo: The SU Crusader)
- Sierra DeMulder
Sierra DeMulder is a poet and educator, as well as a two-time National Poetry Slam champion. An author of four books and a regular slam poem performer, she is also the curriculum director of the Slam Camp at Indiana University and a founder of Button Poetry. With grace and gratitude, DeMulder manages to express accounts of suffering and retrieval through the power of poetry. In her latest collection of poems, “Today Means Amen,” which stems off of her viral slam poem, DeMulder praises everyone who has ever suffered from an eating disorder, mental disorder, or any type of difficulty in life, and commends them for healing. (Photo: Sierra DeMulder)
- Alex Dang
Alex Dang is a professional slam poet who has been performing ever since he was seventeen years old. Being a member of the Portland Poetry Slam national team from 2013-2016 and a Euguene Poetry Grand Slam Champion of both 2014 and 2015, Dang has had his fair share of slam poetry performing. His most acclaimed poem, “What Kind of Asian Are You?,” has racked up over one million views on YouTube, and breaks the stigma that surrounds Asian Americans in these modern times. Dang’s poem, “Times I’ve Been Mistaken for a Girl,” describes the complications of not fitting the typical description of a “boy” in society, both on a personal and observant level. Dang will continue to be an active voice for many Asian American people in this day and age. (Photo: Alex Dang)
- Alyesha Wise
Alyesha Wise is an educator, creator, advocate of human rights and poet who has loved poetry ever since the age of eleven. A co-presenter and co-host of “Jus Words,”’ an open mic poetry series, and a founder of “Black Women Necessary,” a safe space for black women, Wise is using her poetic skills to bring awareness and to advocate for black rights. Wise is also a teacher at New Earth, a mentor for Los Angeles youth detention centers, as well as a poetry teacher in schools and facilities. Wise’s new slam poem, “Dour,” tells the story of a defiant black woman living in the present. Her upcoming book “Carnival” will showcase her fears and experiences all in the theme of a carnival, and how she overcame her suffering. Wise is challenging the modern society’s portrayal of black women by reciting powerful poems with groundbreaking messages. (Photo: Shine for Harriet)
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