Modern Day Poets to Read In 2019
written by Surabhi Pandey
One of the most constant things about poetry is change. It evolves with time, and that is why it continues to remain relevant across centuries. When I was younger, I remember a phase when I was in school and loved reading Rabindranath Tagore’s Gitanjali and William Shakespeare’s Seven Ages. When I moved on to college, I discovered Rumi and Khusrow’s Sufi romanticism. Of course we never outgrow the Tagores, Shakespeares, Rumis and Khusrows of the world, but who doesn’t love discovering and exploring new forms of literature?
Today, I identify as a digital nomad. I read modern-day poets while following them religiously on Instagram. We have entered 2019, and I have chosen three modern poets I’d like to read this year :
Gemma Troy is an Instagram sensation—and rightly so. This Australian poet has authored two books: Heart Lines and Moonlight. In my last post I wrote about my admiration for Emily Dickinson’s relationship with nature in her poetry. Among modern-day poets, Troy holds a Dickinson-like place for me.
I love how her work reminds her readers to just slow down, take a beat, and bask in the beauty of Mother Nature’s warmth and birdsong. When Troy writes about love, she makes me go weak in the knees! One of my favourite poems by Troy is this one—
I love mountains and sunsets
Eyes that tell stories without saying a word
I love laughter that breaks ribs
And permanently etches smiles on faces
Oceans that threaten to swallow you
Trees that stand tall
Weeds that overrun
And also thorns
I love hands that work hard
And hearts that bleed
I love people who are more earth
Than they are skin
K. Y. Robinson
How can you not want to read someone who wrote the following words: "As a writer, I believe you must undress every emotion until they have nowhere else to turn to but pages."
K.Y. Robinson is an amazing influencer. Her writing helps her readers heal in hard times and inspires them to spread love. I identify with her on so many levels—as a woman of colour, a poet, and a fighter. Robinson’s work ignites conversations about life’s struggles, mental illness, suffering and healing.
She reminds me that it is going to be okay when life forces us to face adversities. I read her quotes and poems regularly for a good dose of motivation and spark. One of my favourites is Deferred:
I can’t pinpoint
my father realized
What he thought it would be
His rage with beer
And took up residence
On the bathroom floor
To regurgitate all the ache
Iain S. Thomas
“Here, at last, we shall be free.”
Iain S. Thomas has authored several books but like thousands of other readers, I fell in love with his work with his wildly popular book I Wrote This For You. Since this post is about modern-day poets, it would only be fair to take modern-day readers into account. And boy do we millennials love photographs, which is another reason, in addition to his amazing writing skills, why Iain Thomas is so popular among millennials. He is a writer who also takes amazing photographs and pairs them with his poems. I have ordered my copy of his latest book Every Word You Cannot Say, and I can’t wait to read it.
If I had to choose one favourite out of Iain’s collections, it would be The Fur.
Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard.
Do not let the pain make you hate.
Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness.
Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree,
you still believe it to be a beautiful place.
These are some of my personal favourite poets that you might want to add to your 2019 reading list. One common link between the three is that their work has personality and multiple dimensions. In addition to keeping you well-read, these poets will comfort you and offer you a positive outlook on the year. Happy reading!