7 Poets You Can Read For Free

Today is World Poetry Day, and I wanted to take the time to feature some of my favorite international poets. Since we really shouldn’t be going out and about while social distancing during these Corona times, I went though and found some of my favorite poems that you can find online as well.

Pablo Neruda

When I read Neruda for the first time, I realized how badly I wanted to be in love. I can only imagine how beautiful his intent was in actuality, because his poems are in Spanish and I’ve only read the translated versions. Maybe you’ll see his love for humanity when you read his poems.

Tarfia Faizullah

Tarfia Faizullah has a collection out titled Seam that is centralized around being a women in Bangladesh. Her poetry has been translated into several languages, and in 2016, Harvard Law School recognized her on their list of 50 women inspiring change. She’s an inspiring force for someone like me.

Marcelo Hernandez Castillo

Marcelo Hernandez Castillo is the first undocumented person who obtained an MFA from the University of Michigan. Central themes in Castillo’s poetry include being unseen or misconceptions, which are relevant to the role that Castillo has had in society. He started writing poetry because he wanted to be invisible, but I can see through the lens his poems have given to me.

Nickole Brown

The first time I experienced a Nickole Brown poem, she was reading it to me. I fell in love with the subject matter: she was writing about her grandma, Fanny. With my grandma also being near and dear to my heart, I didn’t hesitate to purchase the poetry collection she was promoting at the time, Fanny Says.

Ocean Vuong

Reading Tarfia’s work also lead me to reading Ocean’s work. I found that I relate to him more than the others, just because we’re Vietnamese and his stories on the Vietnam War remind me of what my parents don’t really talk about. His most recent book, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, has been translated into several languages, including Vietnamese. I hope that one day, I’ll know enough Vietnamese to read it.

John Murillo

Perhaps its the language Murillo uses, or its the content of his poems, but Murillo’s poems take me back to Chicago. That’s a compliment, because I feel a pang of homesickness every time I think of Chicago. While it might seem rough, there’s a playfulness that exists there too.

Nicole Sealey

The thing that stands out to me about Nicole is her creative process. With poetry, she’s very playful when it comes to verse and form in her poetry. Every single one of her poems is very unique in its nature, and they always leave me with a new taste in my mouth. It probably comes from the fact that she’s constantly learning from places like Princeton University, Boston University, and New York University.

Who are some of your favorite poets? Do you have a favorite collection of poetry? How are you holding up in social isolation?

Social isolation has given me so much time to read that I’m not totally suffering yet, which is good because I know some people are taking this time really hard. Remember to check in with your loved ones, but also check in with your neighbors. The world is getting a little dark right now, and I love to encourage for people to be the light if they can.

Love Always,

Kristi My