Rupi Kaur, Lang Leav, & More Share Poems In Honor Of National Poetry Month

National Poetry Month is almost over, but that doesn't mean you've run out of time to enjoy some great poems this April. Seven stellar poets will be reading their original work on Bustle's Instagram in honor of this annual celebration of poetry. You can read all seven poems below, as well as check out Bustle's IGTV to watch their videos for yourself.

The poets Bustle's partnered with all bring different styles and points of view to the genre. Rupi Kaur is beloved for her short, visual and highly-Instagrammable poetry. Poet Catherine Cohen is also known as a comedian, podcaster, and voice actor, much like Jamila Woods, who rose to prominence for her music. Another participant, Jenny Zhang, wrote the award-winning short-story collection Sour Heart, and her next book, My Baby First Birthday, is out in May. Contributor Olivia Gatwood is the author of two poetry collections and will make her fiction debut with Whoever You Are, Honey in 2022. Lang Leav is the bestselling poet behind Love & Misadventure, Lullabies, and The Universe of Us. Finally, Nate Marshall co-curates Haymarket Books' BreakBeat Poets series, and his latest book, Finna, is out later this year.

Read on for seven poems from these incredible artists to read in honor of National Poetry Month:

"poem I wrote after I made you tell me I was sexy four times today" by Catherine Cohen

Bea Helman

I’m finding quarantine to be an amazing time to revert to the basest, most vile

version of myself I’ve worked years to outgrow

I’m reading a book about the guy who discovered the color “mauve”

and googling vintage wallpaper don’t tell me what day it is

I’ve never been patient I don’t know how to “let something go”

people love encouraging self-care until it’s inconvenient for them

everyone on twitter is upset and that’s the point

one time I had a trainer who was like instead of having 4 drinks in one night

you should have 4 drinks in one week and I was like yeah

that’s definitely an amazing idea

boys love getting haircuts

boys love analogies

boys love arguing and calling it philosophy

this guy who wronged me just liked my comment on our mutual friend’s Instagram I’m almost 30

Cat Cohen is the co-host of Seek Treatment with Cat & Pat, available wherever you listen to podcasts.

"Sonnet for the Clove of Garlic Inside Me" by Olivia Gatwood

Jim Bennett/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Yesterday I groveled in the bathroom,

broke a nail against my denim crotch,

squirmed in line, twisted knees at the grocery store,

dug up a buck to buy a bulb of you,

come evening you were in my bathroom, then

skinned knuckle caught in the quarter machine

plucked, peeled, and wedged into my copper mine

you small burn, you small baker, kneading bread

in a dark, damp room, working overtime.

Sam says, The taste will work its way to your mouth

by morning, and that's how you know it worked,

and when I fish you out with my whole hand

you take the thick poison with you, martyr

lily, saint of soil, sear me clean again.

Olivia Gatwood's Life of the Party is available now.

"self-love" by Rupi Kaur

Rachel Murray/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images


i went for my words

the i can'ts. the i won'ts. the i'm not good enoughs.

i lined them up and shot them dead

then i went for my thoughts

invisible and everywhere

there was no time to gather them one by one

i had to wash them out

i wove a linen cloth out of my hair

soaked it in a bowl of mint and lemon water

carried it in my mouth as i climbed

up my braid to the back of my head

down on my knees i began to wipe my mind clean

it took twenty-one days

my knees bruised but

i did not care

i was not given the breath

in my lungs to choke it out

i would scrub the self-hate off the bone

till it exposed love

Rupi Kaur's the sun and her flowers is available now.

"aubade for the whole hood" by Nate Marshall

Courtesy of Nate Marshall

today i offer my self

all the small kindnesses.

i’m out here

with breath in my body

though it may be stank

& body in my control

though it may be too soft

or too large or not enough.

today i offer the whole crib

a jam we ain’t heard in a minute

& permission to turn the news down

& move a hip like a suggestion

to a lover.

on this day i declare the pockmarked

street i grew up on a miracle.

i declare the bills, even the overdue

ones, a blessing. who knew

that we would still be here

to see these injustices. how can we measure

the disrespect of lack against that precious surprise?

real talk,

today i tell myself truths

other than the one that makes me low,

i give myself the gift of a joke with the homies.

real talk,

today i stay woke

to all the terror

but also to my favorite food

or my favorite place

or my best hope for our people

& i work to make all

my best lives possible.

Nate Marshall's Finna is out on Aug. 11 and is available for pre-order today.

"bad day" by Jenny Zhang

Christopher Lane/Contour/Getty Images

i cut my hair

then paid again

to cut more hairs

then paid more

to cut again

then again i paid

again i cut

i cut and paid and cut and paid

still so ugly

I cud die

it's not fair

ppl who are already loved

are the best candidates

for more love

while ppl in mortal danger

try to dodge

all the saviors

who wanna make heroes

out of our peril

Jenny Zhang's My Baby First Birthday is out on May 12 and is available for pre-order today.

"You Had Me Once" by Lang Leav

Courtesy of Lang Leav

You had me once—

wild and willing;

you wanted a lover

who took you to the edge.

Wasn't it I—

who gave you that feeling?

A love that danced

upon a ledge.

Then came another

who offered you safety—

and you chose to be

with her instead.

Lang Leav's Love Looks Pretty On You is available now.

"Blk Girl Art" by Jamila Woods

Frank Hoensch/Redferns/Getty Images

after Amiri Baraka

Poems are bullshit unless they are eyeglasses, honey

tea with lemon, hot water bottles on tummies. I want

poems my grandma wants to tell the ladies at church

about. I want orange potato words soaking in the pot

til their skins fall off, words you burn your tongue on,

words on sale two for one, words that keep my feet dry.

I want to hold a poem in my fist in the alley just in case.

I want a poem for dude at the bus stop. Oh you can’t talk

ma? Words to make the body inside my body less invisible.

Words to teach my sister how to brew remedies in her mouth.

Words that grow mama’s hair back. Words to detangle the kitchen.

I won’t write poems unless they are an instruction manual, a bus

card, warm shea butter on elbows, water, a finger massage to the scalp,

a broomstick sometimes used for cleaning and sometimes

to soar.

Jamila Woods' album "Legacy! Legacy!" is available now.