It’s National Poetry Month and the perfect time to shine a light on some of America’s brightest poets. There are countless other noteworthy names, but these masters of words are worth the read this month!
Mostly self-taught, Whitman’s influence is substantial in the world of poetry. At just 17, he became a teacher in Long Island, New York, before moving forward with his journalistic endeavors. However, his true claim to poetry fame came in 1855 with his self-published collection of 12 poems known as Leaves of Grass, which continues to hold its own in the world of modern poetry.
Dickinson is a monumental figure in American poetry and literature as a whole. Throughout the 1850s and 60s is when Dickinson made her mark with her unique twist on the use of syntax, making her work truly astonishing. However, like many artists of the time, her work wasn’t published or made known until after death, when her sister discovered her writings.
Born in Boston in 1932, Sylvia Plath is most famous for her novel The Bell Jar, but has made an impact in poetry as well, with her collections The Colossus and Ariel. Although she led a troubled life, Plath channeled these problems into her work, which brought her to Cambridge University and later, Smith College, where she taught English.
Famously known for her world-renowned memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou has a career that continues to touch hearts everywhere. She wrote and recited a poem for President Bill Clinton’s inaugural ceremony, won a Grammy for best spoken word album, and in 1971, was nominated for a Pulitzer for her poetry collection, Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water ‘Fore I Die. Maya Angelou’s stamp on the poetry community is sure to remain for lifetimes to come.
Reuben Holmes Sin (r.h. Sin)
With over one million followers on Instagram and counting, r.h. Sin may be known as the “Instagram Poet” of today, but his reach to Millennials and Generation Z is significant. Short, yet powerful poems, is what this poet’s work is comprised of, and his words hit home for many. Sin’s loyal following is meaningful, and with a personal goal to write 7,200 words per day, that praise isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
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