5 Fresh Poets (and Poems) To Check Out

"poetry" by Felix E. Guerrero is licensed under Creative Commons.

by Jupiter Dandridge

Saul Williams – “Said the Shotgun to the Head” It’s cool how he ties it all up in the end of this piece. This is supposed to be about America, but you don’t know what it is about. He has in-depth language to the point where not everyone will understand it when reading it. It does mean something. In a way, it is like abstract art, but as a poem.


Patricia Smith – “Skinhead” Smith is a black woman who personifies a Nazi in a very believable manner, to the point where if I saw someone else read it, I would believe that it was actually Nazi talking, if the physical characteristics matched. Her performance of it makes the viewer want to do slam; it inspired me to try it.


Tyehimba Jess – “Blind Boone’s Vision.” I like poems that can tell a story and not make it too heavy in terms of how it’s said. In the context of the book it was captivating. I liked the way he gives light to these people who aren’t him; it seems like it’s someone else talking.


Claudia Rankine – “Citizen.” It’s amazing how it’s just one big lyric poem. It’s unusual that a poet would write a poem in second person; it’s difficult to do it well, and Rankine does that here. It’s interesting because there are different perspectives on the same ideas around identity. She talks about racism through situations and scenes.


Keli Stewart – To be fair, this poet is my mom. She encouraged me to follow in my own category and not be like someone who just writes poem. Her poetry is cool too; I can see our family in her work, and I can see myself in her work.

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