Modern-day poetry: why can’t we seem to get enough?

I recently pinned one of my favorite poems to a poetry board on Pinterest, and last night I noticed that it had received a large number of impressions in a short period. It got me thinking poetry has evolved over the past two decades in many ways.

On earth we are briefly gorgeous- Ocean Vuong

Contemporary poetry as an art form has become more diverse and inclusive, with a significant representation of voices from marginalized communities. It has led to the emergence of new forms of poetry, such as spoken word and hip-hop poetry, which incorporate elements of performance and spoken word into traditional poetry.

Vietnamese American poet Ocean Vuong

Recently, poetry has seen a resurgence in popularity with the growth of poetry slams and other poetry events, providing poets more opportunities to share their work with a larger audience and increasing the visibility of poetry in mainstream culture.

Whether modern poetry is a hit or miss is a subjective matter. Poetry, like other forms of art, can be interpreted in different ways and evoke various emotions in different people. Some may find contemporary literature/poetry to be innovative and engaging, while others may believe it to be devoid of literary worth or overly experimental.

Sarah Kay and Phil Kaye – When love arrives (source: Button Poetry YT)

Personally, I appreciate modern poetry for its ability to capture everyday experiences and emotions in a concise and powerful way.

Role of poetry in literature and society

Poetry is a form of literary expression that conveys meaning and emotion through the use of figurative languages, such as imagery and metaphor. It sometimes incorporates a musical aspect known as “meter and rhyme” to improve the reader’s experience. Poetry can take many forms, including sonnets, haikus, free-verse, etc.

Regardless of its form, poetry typically has the purpose of expressing a poet’s thoughts, feelings, and observations about the world uniquely and creatively. Figurative language and forms help poets express their thoughts and emotions in a way that ordinary words can’t.

The purpose of poetry in literature is to communicate human experience through the creative use of language to express a wide range of emotions, including love, despair, rage, and joy. It also helps delve into difficult topics and themes such as politics, societal issues, and the human condition and can be a medium to channel self-expression and discovery.

Through its emotive and evocative nature, poetry has always been a powerful force of influence in society and has been used to explore the human condition, convey religious and philosophical beliefs, and record historical events. To this day, it remains a powerful force for inspiring change, encouraging resistance against injustice, and inspiring hope for a better future.

Evolution of poetry

During the Middle Ages, poetry in Europe was mainly written in the form of hymns and ballads. In the Renaissance, poets such as Shakespeare and Milton wrote in a more structured form, using rhyme and meter. In the 18th and 19th centuries, Romantic poets such as Wordsworth and Keats rejected traditional forms, and instead wrote in a more natural and emotional style. In the 20th century, poets such as T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound experimented with different forms, such as free verse, and incorporated elements of modernist and avant-garde art into their poetry.

Today, poetry continues to evolve and take on new forms, such as spoken word and slam poetry. Poets also continue to experiment with language, style, and form, pushing the boundaries of what poetry can be.

Poetry written in the western tradition before the twentieth century is often referred to as traditional literary poetry, also known as “classical poetry.” This particular genre of poetry differs from others in that it conveys meaning and emotion using formal structures like rhyme schemes and meter. Many traditional poets such as William Shakespeare, John Milton, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge used exacting formats like sonnets and epic poems.

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? (Sonnet 18) William Shakespeare

The use of classical allusions, elegant language, and a focus on themes like love, nature, and religion are additional characteristics that set traditional poetry apart.

On the other hand, poetry that was written in the 20th century and later is referred to as modern-day poetry. The rejection of conventional forms and the exploration of new forms and styles are characteristics of modern poetry. Free verse, or poetry without a set rhythm or rhyme scheme, is a common form of poetry used by contemporary poets. This gives the poet more latitude and freedom in how they express themselves. Critics of free verse and other nontraditional forms often allude to classical poetry as “proper poetry.” However, it is worth noting that modern poets are seeking to push the boundaries of traditional forms and explore new realms of expression.

Rudy Francisco – If I was a love poet (source: Button Poetry YT)

Rudy Francisco is one of my favorite contemporary American poets who’s known for his thought-provoking and powerful poetry on themes such as love, identity, race, and societal issues. He often incorporates elements of hip-hop and spoken word into his poetry performances, and his work has been described as raw, honest, and relatable.

He has published several collections of poetry, including “Helium”, “Scraps from the Future”, and “Coup d’Etat”. Some of his most popular poems include “Scars/To The New Boyfriend”, “To the White Girl Who Said My Poetry Wasn’t Poetry”, and “Beauty and the Beast.” His work has been featured on numerous platforms like Button Poetry, TEDx and also The Huffington Post, and has garnered a large following online.

His poetry often explores the complexities of love and relationships, and how they are affected by societal and cultural expectations. He also addresses the issues of race, class, and inequality in his work. Rudy Fransisco poems are often personal and deeply introspective, yet they connect with a wide audience, speaking to universal human experiences.

I especially adore his poetic delivery; it is unique and provokes thought in me. His words have an ethereal quality that I find utterly captivating.

How does modern-day poetry reflect and respond to the current cultural and societal setting?

Modern poets investigate new thoughts and ideas, surrounding the human condition, identity, and the relationship between the self and society. This is pretty fascinating to me. They frequently employ regular language, colloquialisms, and imagery from popular culture to make it more relatable to readers.

Poets among many other artists use their work to challenge prevailing narratives and stereotypical ideas while also drawing attention to significant social and political issues. They use poetry as a medium to give voice to underrepresented groups and to foster critical discussion and social change.

Warsan Shire – Home

Whether it’s Warsan Shire (Somali-British writer), Jericho Brown (African American poet), or Natalie Diaz (American poet), most contemporary poets are respected for their ability to employ powerful and evocative language to shed light on crucial social and political concerns. They write from a deeply intimate perspective, sharing their own and that of those around them. This provides a sense of honesty and vulnerability, which resonates with readers and aids in the development of empathy and understanding.

Additionally, these poets frequently use their work to advance the opinions and voices of underrepresented groups, including women, people of color, and LGBTQ+ people. Their writing frequently has an unpolished, raw quality that adds to its emotional power and impact. This form of art allows marginalized individuals to have a platform from which to communicate their struggles, in an effort to increase awareness and foster solidarity among those facing similar experiences. This is especially true of marginalized poets, who use their work to challenge the status quo.

Modern poetry thus positively contributes to the current cultural and societal context by addressing modern problems and subjects, embracing different opinions and voices.

Speaking of modern problems one cannot deny how dating and relationships have changed in recent years due to a variety of factors, including the rise of technology and social media. Online dating platforms have made it easier for people to connect with potential partners, but they have also introduced new challenges such as increased competition and unrealistic expectations. While some may still continue to wear their heart on their sleeve, some may choose to lock away their emotions due to the fear of being let down or hurt. This fear of vulnerability often leads to individuals being unable to open up, even with those they feel closest to.

Poetry and literature can provide a powerful outlet for people to express and sort out their emotions, especially when it comes to the complex and often difficult experiences of dating and relationships. It could possibly help make sense of their feelings, whether it is through the words of a favorite poet, the story of a relatable character, or the imagery of a moving piece of prose. This is why many people often find solace in poetry and literature, as it allows them to connect with their emotions and experiences in a profound way, and also to explore the emotions and experiences of others, which can provide a sense of validation and understanding.

Most importantly, it can be a way to feel less alone and find meaning in the joys and struggles of life in a world where we are constantly connected but also incredibly lonely at the same time.

Love and Contemporary poetry

The nuanced and subtle aspects of love and its many manifestations and expressions are also frequently explored in contemporary poetry. Among other things, contemporary poets discuss platonic, familial, self, and romantic love.

Love poems have been around for centuries, and the themes and emotions they explore are often timeless. However, modern-day love poems may be more relatable to some people because they are often written in a more contemporary style and language, and address current situations and themes. Besides, many modern poets write about their own personal experiences, which can make their work feel more relatable and authentic to readers.

Just stop for a moment and think about all the poems you have currently saved. A larger audience can now access many poets’ and writers’ works online because of the rise of social media and other digital platforms.

And algorithms help us find more relatable content that was previously hard to find and that is more inclusive of the variety of experiences and perspectives surrounding love, in all its forms. I think these new technologies provide us with the opportunity to connect to poetry in new and more meaningful ways.

The rise of self-publishing has also allowed poets to bypass traditional gatekeepers and share their work more easily, leading to a wider variety of voices and perspectives in love poetry. I appreciate the efforts made by these contemporary artists to discuss how cultural and societal norms about relationships and love influence our own understanding of love.

Poets like Andrea Gibson are known for using their work to explore the intersection of identity and love. They often delve into issues such as race, gender, sexual orientation, and class, and how these factors shape one’s experiences of love and relationships. This can make their poetry feel more relatable and authentic for people who have been marginalized or underrepresented in traditional love poetry. Gibson’s work explores the complexities of love, relationships, and self-discovery, including the impact of social issues, and the intersection of different identities. Through her work, she creates a space for people to see themselves reflected and validated, and also to learn and grow.

Andrea Gibson – Maybe I Need You
(source: Button poetry YT)

It’s evident that poets like Gibson are important in providing representation and visibility to the diverse experiences of love, and how it is shaped by different social factors.

In conclusion

Modern poetry is a vital and dynamic art form that offers a wealth of perspectives, styles, and voices. It has the power to inspire, challenge, and connect with readers on a deep level. Embrace the diversity of modern poetry and discover the beauty and power of language, and the unique voice of poets who speak directly to your hearts and minds.

I encourage you to explore the range of current poetry and seek out the works of poets that speak to you. Attending poetry readings, joining poetry groups, or simply picking up a poetry collection are all ways to engage with and enjoy the richness of modern poetry.

Some of my favorite poetry books:

These are all popular poetry books that have received positive reviews. “Emerald Companion” by Suhaib Rumi is a collection of poetry and prose that explores themes of love, loss, and self-discovery. “The Sun and Her Flowers” and “Milk and Honey” by Rupi Kaur are both collections of poetry and prose that deal with themes of love, loss, healing, and empowerment. “I’ll Fly Away” by Rudy Francisco is a collection of poetry that explores themes of love, relationships, and personal growth. “Take me with you” by Andrea Gibson is a collection of poetry that deals with themes of love, loss, and social justice.

Modern poetry has proven to be a powerful and resonant form of expression for many people. From tackling important social issues to the unique styles used by contemporary poets, there’s no doubt that modern poetry has something to offer everyone. With the help of the internet and social media, modern poetry has become more accessible than ever before, and we certainly can’t seem to get enough of it. Poetry has the power to connect us and offer insight into the human experience.

Let’s continue the conversation in the comments section and share our thoughts on modern poetry. Don’t forget to leave me some recommendations too!


2 Comments Add yours

  1. What is the poetry board on pinterest? is it collaborative?


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