10 Best Poetry Books & Instagram Poets To Celebrate National Poetry Month

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Best Poetry Books & Instagram Poets To Celebrate National Poetry Month
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April is National Poetry Month, and it's a chance to celebrate the oldest form of literary expression. This month is a time to discover some of the most compelling poets who are pushing the boundaries of the art form and using it to highlight modern issues.

Now, more than ever, we have time to expand our literary horizons, read the best poetry books, and get sucked into some of the most popular poems and poets that have emerged in the last couple of years. 

And even though the annual schedule of open mic nights and readings has ceased due to coronavirus, you can still celebrate this literary holiday safely from home. Poets and readers are finding themselves with a lot more time to get creative, so now is a great time to participate.

Whether you’re an artist yourself or just want to support poets, here's your essential guide to partaking in National Poetry Month. 

RELATED: 20 Best Instagram Poems About Love That Can Help You Save Your Relationship

Best Poetry Books

Poetry isn’t just those unintelligible Shakespearean sonnets your high school English teacher made you read. Many poets are publishing collections reflecting on current issues and modern experiences.

With all this time on our hands, now is your chance to pick up one of these amazing collections.

1. We Want Our Bodies Back by Jessica Care Moore

This collection focuses on the intersection between blackness and womanhood. It's an impassioned exploration into how a black woman navigates modern power structures. The poems bravely rally against marginalization in a time that exposes the true effects of inequality.

(Purchase it on Amazon)

2. Junebat by John Elizabeth Stintzi

Award-winning non-binary poet, Stintzi, presents a beautifully crafted first collection. The book reflects on gender identity and belonging in a way that's both personal to the author and a general comment on a wider society.

(Purchase it on Amazon)

3. Homie by Danez Smith

Now that we’re all isolated from some of our closest friends, this is the perfect book to help you reconnect with your memories. The book of poems probes modern friendships and will leave you feeling all kinds of nostalgia.

(Purchase it on Amazon)

4. Dear Girl by Aija Mayrock

This is a debut poetry collection from activist and spoken-word performer, Aija Mayrock. Through its lyrical exploration of modern womanhood, Mayrock tackles issues of image, suicide and assault. 

(Purchase it on Amazon)

5. Year of the Dog by Deborah Paredez

A Latina feminist takes on the Vietnam War era in poems and fragmented images that highlight the voices of women, immigrants, and others whose stories have been left to the margins of history.

(Purchase it on Amazon)

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Best Online Poets & Poetry

If you can’t get your hands on a book or just want some supplementary reading, these Instagram poets are making poetry accessible to all. Following one of these accounts is a great way to break up the regular content on your feed and inject some literature into your screen-time.

6. @r.h.sin

Not much is known by this poet besides his real name, Reuben Holmes. Holmes, who writes under the name r.h. Sin, writes a mix of short, snappy one-liners to longer essay-style pieces, both equally captivating.

His poems read like uplifting quotes with a sprinkle of fourth-wave feminism to keep you probing societies deepest problems. His work makes for easy reading and is accessible with just the click of that blue “follow” button. 

7. @RupiKaur

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Chances are you’ve already heard of Rupi Kaur after the success of her books Milk and Honey and The Sun and Her Flowers. Her poems are short and direct, making them a great way to quickly reflect before you keep scrolling.

Centered on race, femininity, love, and loss, Kaur has something for everyone.

8. @LangLeav

Leav was born in a Thai refugee camp and raised in Australia. She writes as a woman who has experienced the hardships of the world, and has come out hopeful and empowered.

As well as posting snippets of her work to Instagram, she has published 6 poetry collections and a novel. Follow her account for regular poems and career updates.

9. @rmdrk

R. M. Drake is one of the original successful Instagram poets and really innovated modern poetry by starting this movement.

His poems pull at the heartstrings and will make you think of your worst heartbreak. These poems will rip you open and patch you up all at once.  

10. @AtticusPoetry

Some of Atticus' best work is just one or two lines. This choice to be economic with words means the full impact of the poems is felt rather than said.

He often includes references to fantasy and fiction in his work, so if dragons are your thing be sure to follow his page.

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How can you participate in National Poetry Month?

If you’re feeling inspired by reading and want more, it has never been easier to participate in National Poetry Month. It's gone digital with readings, workshops, and prompts.

Across a variety of platforms, these organizations are bringing skills and inspiration to you. Here's how you can get involved.

1. Rock Your Rights

This non-profit is focused on human rights education. They target youths via their online portal to encourage them to be expressive and empowered.

For the entire month of April they are posting writing prompts each weekday. If you’re under 21, you can share your responses, but even if you're not this is a great way to kick-start your poetry if you’re struggling with writer's block.

2. The Downtown Writers Center

This New York-based writing center has migrated its spring schedule online due to coronavirus restrictions. It has a variety of creative writing workshops and classes that will help you practice your poetry skills. This is an amazing way to perfect your craft while in quarantine.  

3. Self-ish 

Self-ish is a trans and non-binary open mic night that is now being hosted online. The readings can be watched by all, regardless of your gender identity.

The group started in Paris and creates a space for expression for those who are often under-represented. The group welcomes you to share poetry with them via their Facebook page.

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Alice Kelly is a writer with a passion for lifestyle, entertainment and trending topics.

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