If you were anything like me growing up, poetry was boring and often intimidating within the classroom. Nobody cared about boring old people who love nature and want to use complicated language just to describe the color and shape of a leaf. Trust me, I get it.
It wasn’t until I went to college and discovered a variety of authors of different genders, including nonbinary, different races, different sexual orientations, and different backgrounds that I realized how sacred and diverse the art of poetry can actually be.
You need to check out these 10 poets if you hate poetry, the way I used to all these years.
1. Rudy Francisco
My favorite poetry book at the moment is Helium by Rudy Francisco. I discovered him through Button Poetry, which is a great place to go if you are just starting to get into poetry. They feature amazing artists from all sorts of backgrounds.
If you hate poetry but are looking to read content on heartbreak, this is your go-to poet. He also touches on racism and self-esteem and is super relatable. Check out his spoken word performances on YouTube and I guarantee you’ll want to read more of his work.
This transgender artist is most known for her singing and her music. Kokumo’s poetry primarily deals with transphobia and racism head-on, and it provides the open-minded reader with an insight on how to humanize others who are different. You can see some of her performances on YouTube. A great place to start with her poetry is by reading her book Reacquainted with Life. My favorite poem from this is “A Diff’rent Kinda Eve.”
3. Audre Lorde
Unfortunately, this activist poet is no longer alive, but her legacy lives on her poetry. If you hate poetry, she is definitely someone who will change your feelings on the matter. Audre Lorde has written many essays and poems on sexual orientation, feminism, and racism. My favorite essay from her is “The Master’s Tools Will Not Dismantle the Master’s House.” It’s one of her most famous pieces of writing. If you’re looking for a place to start with her poetry, try The Black Unicorn: Poems.
4. Sabrina Benaim
Even if you hate poetry, connecting with artists who struggle with similar mental health obstacles like depression can feel comforting. Sabrina Benaim is a poet who makes you feel a little less lonely as you battle your inner demons.
I first discovered her on YouTube when she performed “Explaining My Depression to My Mother.” It was the first time I felt like someone was able to take my tumultuous feelings and put them into words that I could not make. I’m also in love with her poetry book Depression & Other Magic Tricks.
Does this name look familiar to you? If it does, it’s probably because you’ve heard of this artist on your radio, in your car, on music streaming services, and at parties. Halsey is a pop culture icon and aside from her music, she’s become very popular as a writer and poet thanks to her book, I Would Leave Me If I Could: A Collection of Poetry.
For someone who hates poetry, if you love Halsey, you’ll love her writing. “Due Date” is one of my favorite poems from this, a piece of writing about feeling like you don’t measure up from the moment you start existing. It’s heartbreaking and relatable, and it gives us another reason to love her aside from her greatest emotional hits.
6. Andrea Gibson
This poet knows how to connect those who have experienced loss, and are experiencing grief, to something that puts their thoughts and feelings into perspective. Andrea Gibson is for everyone who thinks they hate poetry. Their books, Lord of the Butterflies and Take Me With You are masterpieces. Even if you just go to their website, you’ll immediately be entranced by all of the ways you can explore their poems and hopefully be inspired to create some of your own.
7. Billy Collins
Contrary to popular belief, poetry is not always conveyed in sad prose and depressing imagery. Many poets, like Billy Collins, write poems from a place of humor. Some of Billy’s best poems include “The Art of Drowning” and “The Afterlife,” which both deal with death but in a comedic manner. If you’re looking for something to put a smile on your face, even if you hate poetry, this is an artist you need to check out. He’s also got a couple of TedTalks if you’re into that as well.
8. Morgan Parker
This writer connects well with young adult audiences through publications like her book, Who Put This Song On? Her poetry collection, There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyonce, is a beautiful perspective on black womanhood. Even if you hate poetry, recognizing narratives about black women, a horribly marginalized group, is extremely important. If you’re looking for a means to gain a deeper insight, Morgan Parker is the perfect writer to start off with.
9. Gabbie Hanna
A few years ago, when my brother was still a teenager who hated poetry, I recommended the book Adultolescence by Gabbie Hanna. He absolutely loved it. Gabbie Hanna, a YouTube sensation, writes about that gray area between being a teenager and a certified adult in society.
It’s a time in life when you have no idea what you’re doing half of the time and you’re constantly questioning your purpose in relationships, work, and social status. Gabbie hits the nail on the head in her book. Oh, and if you’re into illustrations, this book is full of them.
10. Scott Hill
You read that right! It’s me! This is a bit of a shameless plug, but coming from years of absolutely hating poetry to self-publishing four collections of my own, who knows better about learning to appreciate art than me? I write from experience and I do it in a way that’s direct and not so abstract where you have no idea what I’m writing about. I’ve written about heartbreak, loss, mental illness, success, triumphs, grief, and healing.
If you’re interested in my collections, you can check me out on Instagram @scotthillpoetry, and feel free to follow me!
Do you hate poetry? Do you plan on checking any of these poets out? Let me know in the comments section!
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Scott Hill is a former middle school educator and current poet with multiple self-published collections. He has a degree in English Literature and Psychology from the University of Houston and resides nearby where he can be seen tending to plants at his job, snuggling with his dog on the sofa, or spending time with loved ones. He enjoys whiskey and wine nights and loves writing about other poets, personal life experiences, mental health, food, and sometimes Taylor Swift. Feel free to follow him on Instagram @scotthillpoetry!