15 Poets You Need To Be Reading In 2018

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If there's one thing I've realized over the last two decades, it's that most people, even the most ardent of book lovers, do not read enough poetry. I can't tell you why this is, but I can give you the names of 15 poets you should be reading, just in case you want to fill that gap on your nightstand. The best part is that they're all contemporary, so you can find their collections at your favorite bookstore, and if you fall in love with their work, you can probably find them an event near you.

Look, I get it. Poetry has gotten a bad rap. Either you think it's all for kids, like the works of Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein, or you think that every poem is just too dense for anyone but a scholar of literature to understand. But every poem isn't "Runny Babbit" or "The Rime of the Ancyent Marinere." There's a lot of middle ground, and there's a poet out there for everyone. Whether you like short, sweet poems about falling in love, or long, drawn-out tales of war and famine, one of the poets on this list has you covered.

Check out the 15 poets I think you should be reading below, and share your favorites with me on Twitter!

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Fatimah Asghar

SlamFind on YouTube

The co-creator of the Brown Girls webseries, Fatimah Asghar will publish her first full-length poetry collection, If They Come for Us, in 2018.

Warsan Shire

Keats House on YouTube

In spite of the fact that her work was featured in Beyoncé's Lemonade, Warsan Shire keeps a pretty low profile online. She is the author of two poetry collections: Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth and Her Blue Body.

Click here to buy: Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth

Hieu Minh Nguyen

Pillow Fort Sessions on YouTube

NEA Fellowship recipient Hieu Minh Nguyen's first poetry collection, This Way to the Sugar, was a Lambda Literary Award finalist. His second book of poetry, Not Here, is slated for release in 2018.

Click here to buy: This Way to the Sugar

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Sarah Kay

Button Poetry on YouTube

Project Voice co-director Sarah Kay has published three books of poems, titled B, No Matter the Wreckage, and The Type. Her fourth book, All Our Wild Wonder, hits store shelves in 2018.

Click here to buy: B

Click here to buy: No Matter the Wreckage

Click here to buy: The Type

Terrance Hayes

The Museum of Modern Art on YouTube

Terrance Hayes' 2010 collection, Lighthead, won the National Book Award for Poetry, an award for which his 2015 book, How to Be Drawn, was a finalist. Hayes is an NEA, Guggenheim, and MacArthur Fellowship recipient, and his latest book, American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin, is forthcoming in 2018.

Click here to buy: Lighthead

Click here to buy: How to Be Drawn

Carmen Giménez Smith

The Bad Shadow Affair on YouTube

Carmen Giménez Smith's memoir, Bring Down the Little Birds, won the 2011 American Book Award. She is the author of four poetry collections: Odalisque in Pieces, The City She Was, Goodbye, Flicker: Poems and Milk and Filth. Her fifth book of poems, Cruel Futures, comes out in 2018.

Click here to buy: Bring Down the Little Birds

Click here to buy: Odalisque in Pieces

Click here to buy: The City She Was

Click here to buy: Goodbye, Flicker: Poems

Click here to buy: Milk and Filth

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Rupi Kaur

triple j on YouTube

Rupi Kaur's first poetry collection, milk and honey, hit No. 1 on The New York Times Best Seller list. Her second book, the sun and her flowers, won the 2017 Goodreads Choice Award for Best Poetry.

Click here to buy: Milk and Honey

Click here to buy: The Sun and Her Flowers

Tracy K. Smith

PBS NewsHour on YouTube

Tracy K. Smith's 2011 collection, Life on Mars, won the Pulitzer Prize, so clearly we should all be paying attention to what she has to say. She is the author of two additional poetry collections, The Body's Question and Duende, as well as a memoir, Ordinary Light. Her fourth poetry collection, Wade in the Water, is slated for publication in 2018.

Click here to buy: Life on Mars

Click here to buy: The Body's Question

Click here to buy: Duende

Click here to buy: Ordinary Light

Ocean Vuong

speakeasynyc on YouTube

Ocean Vuong's first full-length collection of poetry, Night Sky with Exit Wounds, has won multiple awards and garnered accolades from no less than The New York Times, The New Yorker, and The Guardian.

Click here to buy: Night Sky with Exit Wounds

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Yesika Salgado

Button Poetry on YouTube

Yesika Salgado has been self-publishing poetry zines for years, but she finally put out her first full-length collection, Corazón, in 2017. She and Angela Aguirre make up the "Latina feminist poetry collective" known as Chingona Fire.

Click here to buy: Corazón

Noor Unnahar

Noor Unnahar on YouTube

Pakistani-American poet Noor Unnahar has been operating her design and lifestyle blog, Noor's Place, since she was in high school. Her poetry combines words, photography, and video into multimedia presentations. Unnahar's first poetry collection, yesterday i was the moon, hits store shelves in 2018.

Click here to buy: Yesterday I was the Moon

Morgan Parker

BAMorg on YouTube

Morgan Parker is an NEA Fellowship recipient and Pushcart Prize-winning poet. She has published two collections, Other People's Comfort Keeps Me Up at Night and There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé, and has two more books — a poetry collection called Magical Negro and an as-yet-untitled work of nonfiction — forthcoming in 2019.

Click here to buy: Other People's Comfrot Keeps Me Up at Night

Click here to buy: There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé

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Amanda Lovelace

ladybookmad on Instagram

Amanda Lovelace's debut collection, the princess saves herself in this one, won the 2016 Goodreads Choice Award for Best Poetry. The follow-up, titled the witch doesn't burn in this one, is forthcoming in 2018, and Lovelace is at work on a third book at the time of this writing.

Click here to buy: The Princess Saves Herself in This One

Analicia Sotelo

Analicia Sotelo's debut collection became the first-ever winner of the Jake Adam York Prize before it appeared in stores. You can get a copy of Virgin at your favorite bookstore in 2018.

Tarfia Faizullah

Jamaal May on YouTube

Tarfia Faizullah's debut collection, Seam, won a VIDA award, among other accolades, and her second book of poetry appears to be destined for greatness as well. Registers of Illuminated Villages is forthcoming in 2018.

Click here to buy: Seam

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