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Famous Modern Living Poets Who are Making History Right Now

Who are these famous modern living poets who are making history right now? These contemporary poets frequently display their restless, savvy, and contradictory poetic brilliance by abandoning the traditional movements of poetry while blazing their trail with radical, underground, or contemporary poetry movements of the day. The poets in these new modernist movements of poetry often represent or follow the cultural or political shifts of the day, transformations that are important to Millennials, Generation Z members, and all groups of people. However, change has not always resulted in the landscape of contemporary poetry as emotion, metaphors, imagery, and rhythm still reign supreme in this art form.

If you are only familiar with the famous poets of lore taught matter-of-factly in public schools, you might develop the wrong impression about poetry. Most of those poets have been dead for several decades and speak of their time's issues. However, many popular and famous modern living poets are busy creating magnificent works that speak to our current experiences and recent histories, with inspiration from the traditional forms at times.

With this in mind, we have created a list of several popular famous living poets (in alphabetical order by last name) who are busy creating new memories and history through their poetic works. This article will not bore you with their poetic achievements and other notable accomplishments; it will simply help you to appreciate what makes their poetry unique. This will be a living list of some of the best famous modern living poets. Expect this list to be updated as new poets of fame arise.

Sherman Alexie

Sherman Alexie

Sherman Alexie has earned a lot of praise for his short stories and poems that are primarily based on the contemporary reservation life of Native Americans. In his writing, he shines his light on how poverty, despair, and alcoholism have been affecting the lives of Native Americans with a powerful evocation of indignation and sadness. He does so while also creating a sense of compassion and respect for the readers of his characters, mostly in seemingly hopeless situations. One characteristic of his writing is irony spiced up with his dark humor, which is always exquisitely timed. He is famous for turning an eye to something that had been ignored before; the life of the Native Americans on the reserve in its rawest form.

Quick Facts

  • Born: October 7, 1966, on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Wellpinit, Washington
  • Education: Reservation schools on the Spokane Indian Reservation, Reardon High School, Gonzaga University, Washington State University

Cynthia Cruz

Cynthia Cruz

At the moment, Cynthia Cruz is working on a project to understand how negative freedom as a concept operates and the relation of the death drive to the working class. Nomadism and the working-class background are the influences she mostly cites. In contrast, her theoretical and creative works are influenced by psychoanalysis and Continental Philosophy, with the main effects being the works of Freud, Hegel, and Lacan. In her recent work, she has focused more on Lacan's theory of LACK and how it relates to those who are anorexic. She is also working to connect the theory of LACK, the theory of anorexia, with trauma and the unfathomable things. She writes about death, illness, addiction, and poverty with a disquieting relish and a confident authority.

Quick Facts

  • Born on a US Air Force Base in Germany and grew up in Northern California.
  • Education: Received a BA from Mills College, an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College, an MFA in Art Writing & Criticism at the School of Visual Arts, and an MA in German Language and Literature at Rutgers University-New Brunswick.

Jane Hirshfield

Jane Hirshfield

The work of Jane Hirshfield makes a sensuous elaboration of philosophical art which works at creating a momentary pause in the mental habits of fast-forwarding that we have trained our minds on. Critics have termed her as the rare thing you will find in contemporary American life. She composes complex poems that appear simple to the untrained eye, posing riddles in a quietly metaphysical nature with transparent and clean language. They are poems that invite everyone to a period of change and reflection, establishing a delicate balance and ethical awareness. Her topics of discussion range from ecological discussions, politics, science, and the personal, passionate and metaphysical questions of our times. She makes a vivid intersection of imagination and facts, loss and desire, beauty and impermanence, in short, coverage of all the dimensions that our shared existences can take us to.

Quick Facts

  • Born in New York City on February 24, 1953.
  • Education: Received her BA from Princeton University in its first graduating class to include women. Subsequently studied at the San Francisco Zen Center.

Sarah Kay

Sarah Kay

Kay's poetry gives you something to hold on to when you are happy, hurting, and in love and when confusion is the only sensible thing in your life. It provides words to speak the deep feelings that language cannot capture in their exactness. She is known for her spoken word poetry aimed at entertaining, educating, and empowering educators and students in communities and classrooms worldwide. She also works to generate new ways to bring animation and poetry together to communicate the universe's wonders. She considers the spoken word to be that piece of poetry that refuses to stick on paper; the work must be witnessed in person or heard aloud to comprehend fully. She equates this to the importance of melody, gesture, or accent in a work of art, all of which cannot be sufficiently translated.

Quick Facts

  • Born April 16, 1972, in New York City, New York, to a Japanese American mother and a Jewish American father.
  • Education: Received her Master of Arts in Teaching from Brown University and an honorary doctorate in humane letters from Grinnell College.

Dorothea Lasky

Dorothea Lasky

The poet is known for her style, ranging from every day to slang, with quite dramatic readings. She credits the uniqueness of her poems to what she calls an arrogance of a kind, a supreme power of its kind mixed with a tincture of expertise and humility. She views the poem as always being about the speaker. She considers learning and writing to be a part of teaching actively, with those things being in a never-ending conversation in her creative life. She also finds self-sequestration by artists the only way they can change educational environments. In her poems' treatment of sincerity and irony, she makes prominent connections between tone, style, and meta representation, making that a central ingredient.

Quick Facts

  • Born March 27, 1978, in St. Louis, Missouri.
  • Education: Received her BA from Washington University, an MFA at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, a Masters in Arts Education from Harvard University, and a doctorate in creativity and education at the University of Pennsylvania.

Ada Limón

Ada Limón

She is unlike your contemporary poet since her work is not deconstructivist or text-derivative. She makes a smooth personalization of her homilies, which she stamps with an authentic self-discovery and invention. A wide range of phenomena has shaped her artistic vision, with some trees providing much-needed inspiration in her life, of which she has kept a catalog. These she considers to be the trees that have marked space and time in addition to expanding the meaning of being alive on earth. She delivers pieces that are, at times, tributes to the mystery and power of nature, some boldly confessional memoirs, and some that are just cases of honest moments of reckoning with the beauty of our world and the many upheavals in it.

Quick Facts

  • Born March 28, 1976, and originally from Sonoma, California.
  • Education: Received an MFA from the creative writing program at New York University.

Eileen Myles

Eileen Myles

People have described his poems as among contemporary American literature's most restless and savviest of intellects. Readers have compared his output to Willie Nelson's due to how their poetry inputs into experiences and thoughts with a radical receptiveness. He has also written about culture and art, gaining the description of a rock star of poetry. Myles uses them/they pronouns in his works. He has also written exhaustively on the surreality of sex in The New Fu*k You: Adventures in Lesbian Reading, which is considered a postmodern concentration on reading instead of identity. This work also offers a multi-genre approach, diverting from the mainstream lesbian and gay poetry of the 1990s. Myles has also used a dog's perspective in writing some of his poems, which gives a radically different view from the typical flow of thought.

Quick Facts

  • Born December 9, 1949, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
  • Education: Received a BA from the University of Massachusetts Boston.

Maggie Nelson

Maggie Nelson

She has tried to capture her many selves in her diverse volumes of work; she is the poet who writes prose; that essayist whose texts appear to be fairy tales; that memoirist who thinks of the truth as specious. She makes her readers hopeful in how she drives her protagonists from darkness to light. Her work has been considered as crossing genres, which makes it a form of hybrid, to the end that she has assumed Eileen Myles' "vernacular scholarship." It has created in her the need to talk with and talk back to philosophers and theorists using ordinary language to show in dramatic form how much important their ideas are in her daily life. She has also written about the media and sexual violence, cruelty, and aesthetics.

Quick Facts

  • Born in 1973 in San Francisco, CA.
  • Education: Received a BA in English at Wesleyan University and earned a Ph.D. in English literature at the Graduate Center, CUNY.

Naomi Shihab Nye

Naomi Shihab Nye

Most of her work has been influenced by different cultures and the cultural differences she has witnessed in her life. She is famous for creating pieces of poetry that offer a fresh and new perspective on ordinary people, events, and objects. She says that the primary source of her poetic genius is the local life and those random characters that one meets on the streets in our daily activities that she considers to be the ancestry that is shifting down to us. Her work is a majestic observation of continuity and the business of living among all the world's inhabitants. She is internally focused with a scope internationally set. Most people consider Nye to be among the leading female poets in the Southwestern part of America. She captures the attention of everyone to fashion the female as a wry and humorous creature with a complex and brisk intelligence and a perspective of personal freedom that has not been heard of in the long history of women pioneers.

Quick Facts

  • Born March 12, 1952, in St. Louis, Missouri, to a Palestinian father and an American mother.
  • Education: Received a BA in English and world religions from Trinity University.

Warsan Shire

Warsan Shire

To compose her verses, Shire uses her personal experiences and the experiences that the people close to her have had. She assumes, to the most intimate of details, the stature of the individual she is writing as or for to create her genuine masterpieces. She is mainly interested in writing for and about people and individuals who would otherwise not be heard of, such as refugees and immigrants, plus other marginalized parts of the population. To make sense of things and situations, she has said that she makes vivid navigations through the memories of other people as well as hers. Since she is a first-generation immigrant, she uses her poetic work to make a connection with the people of Somalia, a country that she has never been to. Her position as an immigrant has given her the platform to display the lives of these groups of people.

Quick Facts

  • Born August 1, 1988, to Somali parents in Kenya.
  • Education: Received a BA in creative writing.

Richard Siken

Richard Siken

Richard Siken is a poet who effectively juxtaposes mundane images and holy wishes to make them appear beautiful through his strange and lyrical alchemical process. His creations make an effortless unwinding on the page, giving the voice of the speaker time to pause for breath and wracking his voice with sexual obsession. The death of his boyfriend inspired his book Crush in 1991, which caused him to create this series that is savage, gay, confessional, and also charged with bouts of violent eroticism. His poetry is better consumed than read; it has panic, flashes, and urgency so vivid they can almost bring the dead men to life. It has a dream-like feeling, like something that you keep chasing but always disappears when you are close to catching it.

Quick Facts

  • Born February 15, 1967, in New York City.
  • Education: Received a BA in psychology and later a Master of Fine Arts in poetry from the University of Arizona.

Tracy K. Smith

Tracy K. Smith

Tracy's writing is mainly fashioned to tackle such formidable topics as grief and loss, nascent adulthood, and the roles of family and race by referencing popular culture and her precise descriptive texts of intimate moments. Her work makes a skillful and languid shift from the expensive issues in the typical occurrence to the tiny everyday events. She gives ordinary things significance, making room for the incomprehensible things in our daily lives. Her writings tackle various issues, ranging from delight and sorrow and the place of man in the universe, self-discovery while Black, class conflicts, slavery, and climate change. She also tackles racism in the United States from a historical perspective and present-day experiences.

Quick Facts

  • Born April 16, 1972, in Massachusetts and raised in northern California.
  • Education: Received her BA from Harvard University and an MFA in creative writing from Columbia University. From 1997 to 1999, she held a Stegner fellowship at Stanford University.

Natasha Trethewey

Natasha-Trethewey

Tretheway has been described as a formal master, a poet with poise and an exquisite delicacy that is always geared towards unveiling historical and racial inequalities in the United States and the personal expenses that are still taking place due to these inequalities. She has created in her work an intricate intersection of personal and cultural experiences to create a profound, painful, and inevitable aura. Her poetry is structured as a combination of the villanelle and the sonnet. At the same time, the themes usually comprise an examination of the racial legacy in America and the memory of it. She is also not afraid of examining the weather and climate and their effects on the lives of the family, friends, and neighbors. She sources her influence from her memories of her family's background.

Quick Facts

  • Born in Gulfport, Mississippi, on April 26, 1966.
  • Education: Received a BA in English from the University of Georgia, an M.A. in English and Creative Writing from Hollins University, and an M.F.A. in poetry from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1995.

Ocean Vuong

Ocean Vuong

Voung mainly explores such topics as desire, violent loss, and transformation. He views content and form as not just the vehicle through which the poem navigates but also as an extension of the content in the poem, a place that creates more room for further investigation of tensions. He fashions his poems such that as the poem makes its way through space, it is tangential to enjambment or line breaks that are end-stopped through the stutters and utterances. To create substantial works of poetry, he lets them collapse before he can think of closure or resurrection. He also uses the collapse to add another dimension via manipulation of form. He does not shy away from speaking of how normal it has become for displacements to occur in diverse places worldwide, creating heartbreaking scenes of fathers and mothers dragging their children in the ravages. He considers the study of literature the best way to study literature.

Quick Facts

  • Born on October 14, 1988, in H? Chí Minh City, Vietnam.
  • Education: Received a BA in English from Brooklyn College and an MFA in poetry from New York University.

Kevin Young

Kevin Young

His work comprises fictional and non-fictional pieces that vary in content, from cultural criticism to the discussion of the lyrical chorus. His poetic genius is made of what he considers a fine mixture of poetic language and unpoetic language, or what he calls the "unexpected language." His work strives to make recognition of the many vernaculars available; that of the visual arts, the blues, or just the vernacular comprised of the live language that takes a man through day-to-day life. His poetry is a walk through the reverie, transcendence, and grief gallery, showing a glimpse of the magic that poetry can unleash when the language is allowed to run at full throttle. His poetry is masterly in that transformative curation of death, life, and how we deal with them.

Quick Facts

  • Born on November 8, 1970, in Lincoln, Nebraska as the only child of two working parents, his father, Dr. Paul E. Young, was an ophthalmologist, and his mother, Dr. Azzie Young, a chemist.
  • Education: Received a BA from Harvard University in 1992 and his MFA in creative writing from Brown University in 1996.

Conclusion: Modern Living Poets Making History

Yes, modern living poets are making history right now. Their poetry may be able to speak to you more intimately than the great poets from the past like Walt Whitman or William Shakespeare. We are glad to see that there are unique and famous living poets making history right now and receiving people's love and admiration in unimaginable ways.