7 Gen Z Poets to Watch
As more and more Gen Zers enter into young adulthood, we’re seeing a new crop of ambitious poets join the scene. Studies show that Gen Z is not only the most racially and ethnically diverse generation yet, but they are also more focused on political activism and societal change than generations past. As these young writers bring their unique and fresh perspectives to the literary landscape, we’ve highlighted seven Gen Z poets to watch.
The first Gen Z poet on our list was recently named 2021’s National Youth Poet Laureate, a title previously held by Amanda Gorman. Alexandra Huỳnh is a San Francisco-based second-generation Vietnamese American. “Her trajectory has changed what I thought was possible for a poet,” said Huỳnh, referring to Gorman, in USA Today. “She has encouraged me to dream big.”
Nashville’s 2020 Youth Poet Laureate Alora Young brings music, poetry, and activism together in her work. In addition to being a National Youngarts Finalist and a Scholastic Gold Medalist, Young founded AboveGround, an organization that uses creative writing to increase the accessibility of advanced academics to students of color.
Amanda Gorman became a household name when she served as the inaugural poet in President Biden’s 2021 inauguration ceremony. This made her the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. History. Her poem “The Hill We Climb” appears in her forthcoming collection of the same title.
Korean American writer Christina Im is an undergraduate at Princeton University. In 2018, she was a finalist for Best of The Net, and her work has appeared in The Adroit Journal, The Margins, and Strange Horizons, among other publications. She has been recognized by the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program, the National YoungArts Foundation, and the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers.
Named the inaugural Youth Poet Laureate of Saint Paul, Minn., Donte Collins is a surrealist blues poet inspired by the Black Arts Movement. Their work, often informed by their experiences as Black, queer, and adopted, has earned them a McKnight Artist Fellowship for Spoken Word as well as the Most Promising Young Poet Award from the Academy of American Poets.
As the 2020-21 Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Youth Poet Laurent, Faye Harrison was the Midwest Regional contender for National Youth Poet Laureate. As a recovering addict and sexual assault survivor, her poetry and her advocacy efforts focus on those topics. In addition, she pushes for social justice, inclusion, and education across her region.
A St. Louis, Mo. native, Gabrielle Grace Hogan has been published in Passages North, Ghost City Review, Sonora Review, and more. She also serves as poetry editor for Bat City Review. In 2017, her poem “Pools” earned her the Stein Academy of American Poets Prize, and her poem “Poem to Be Read as a Eulogy” was nominated by Lavendar Review for a Pushcart Prize. Hogan is currently pursuing her MFA with the New Writers Project at the University of Texas at Austin.