The beating heart of modern poetry

Selena Soto , Contributing Writer

Poetry is an art form by which people can express their emotions, experiences and vulnerabilities. It provides a platform for people to address hard topics, past trauma and current issues. Poetry transcends written words. It is a powerful method for people to use their voice to call for action and change and unity, as seen in Amanda Gorman’s recent performance of her poem for the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. Poets are creators of their own art form and new inspiring voices are breathing life into poetic pieces around the world every day.

At just 22 years old, Amanda Gorman, a Harvard University grad has been named the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history. However, her astounding accomplishments in the world of poetry do not stop there. Amanda Gorman’s website says that she is a recipient of awards that include the Glamour magazine College Women of the Year and the Webby Award. Her website also mentions that she has been invited to perform for well-known public figures such as Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai, American actor Lin-Manuel Miranda (Cue Hamilton soundtrack), former United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, among others. Amanda Gorman has also written for the New York Times and has three upcoming books that will be published by the popular and successful publishing company, Penguin Random House. Be prepared everyone because Amanda Gorman has big things in store for us and her inauguration speech was just the tip of the iceberg.

In honor of International Women’s Day on Mar. 8, an article published by Hong Kong Tatler highlights seven female poets whose voices are shining loud and clear in Hong Kong.

One of the seven poets, Sarah Howe, is a Chinese-British poet, who explores the relationship between her two racial identities and dives deep into her ancestry as well her life in Hong Kong. Tatler said that her first poetry book, titled “Loop of Jade,” won the T.S. Eliot prize in 2015.
Mary Jean Chan is considered to be one of the most influential “BAME” writers in Britain, said Tatler. A “BAME” writer is someone who has won a literary prize and is representative of a British Black, Asian or minority ethnic writer. Mary’s poetry book, “Flèche” (Arrow), won the Costa Award for Poetry in 2019.

There are many additional examples of modern-day poets rising in popularity, such as Elizabeth Acevedo, Patricia Frazier, and Phil Kaye who were all featured in an article by the Book Riot. It is evident that any age can explore poetry and produce pieces that can move the masses.
Aja Monet is a Brooklyn-based poet in the U.S. who, at just 19 years old, became the Nuyorican Poets Cafe Grand Slam Champion, according to Read Poetry. Aja’s first poetry collection titled, “My Mother Was A Freedom Writer,” discusses topics such as spirituality, sexism and racism. Read poetry said that this collection was also nominated for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work.

The voices and work of both modern and classic poets continue to be explored and heard. Poets have a gift that they share with the public as people get to experience the delivery of these diverse and impactful creative pieces of art. As the great and influential poet Maya Angelou once said, “The idea is to write it so that people hear it, and it slides through the brain and goes straight to the heart.”