5 Poets for the Poetry Impaired

The genre can be a hard pill to swallow, but we're here to guide you through it.

morgan parker

So, let’s face it, poetry isn’t everyone’s favorite genre to read, and everyone has their own reasons for this. Which is why we’ve taken it upon ourselves to compile an introductory list of poetry collections to help you get your toes wet in the deep dark waters of verse.

We hope each of the five artists listed below serve as your gateway to the beloved genre.

1. D.H. Lawrence

d.h. lawrence poets for people who dont like poetry

Kicking off our list is classic poet, D.H. Lawrence, who once dabbled in every writing form, which might speak to why Lawrence’s poems don’t always have that perfume-y quality that is so often associated with the style.

I never saw a wild thing

sorry for itself.

A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough

without ever having felt sorry for itself.

— from the poem, Self Pity

2. Rupi Kaur

rupi kaur poets for people who dont like poetry
Rupi Kaur

Rupi Kaur has been getting some buzz recently from her poetry collections which tackle everything from abuse to feminism to love. Kaur’s style is quick and short verse, but she utilizes every line to draw out emotion and thought in her reader.

it is a blessing

to be the color of the earth

do you know how often

flowers confuse me for home

— from the collection, The Sun and Her Flowers

3. JonArno Lawson

JonArno Lawson Poets for People Who Don't Like Poetry

JonArno Lawson’s poetry is in the same vein of Maurice Sendak and Shel Silverstein; a little kooky, possibly meant for children but thoughtful and insightful nonetheless. His classic quirky rhymes and illustrations speak of the fragility and folly of life.

No need to switch the towels

for the orchid.

Its bath is in the air

It dries there—

daring of higher powers

naked

and faking its flowers.”

— from the poem, Orchid in the Window

4. Wendy Cope

wendy cope poets for people who dont like poetry

Possibly the most conventional of the poets to make this list, do not let that stop you from picking up Wendy Cope. She uses the constructs of poetry—rhyme, meter, practical line breaks—and writes about what is real and relevant in her life and the world.

He tells her that the Earth is flat—

He knows the facts, and that is that.

In altercations fierce and long

She tries her best to prove him wrong.

But he has learned to argue well.

He calls her arguments unsound

And often asks her not to yell.

She cannot win. He stands his ground.

 

The planet goes on being round.”

— from the poem, He Tells Her

5. Morgan Parker

morgan parker poets for people who dont like poetry

Morgan Parker is almost a complete departure from the other poets on our list. Parker’s work straddles the line between verse and prose in its form, and the content is a perfect blend of personal and political. She’ll make you laugh, think, cry and scream “YAASSS!!” all at once with a shrewdness that is subtle but heavily detailed.

Darren Wilson cannot find a job, twelve months after the shooting, which left his round cheeks pink with adrenaline. He lives a quiet life. His blue eyes sparkle. He is a man who shot a boy. No, a suspect. Boy. Rodney King became nationally known after he was beaten. Even angels want to live forever. Even angels want LA fame.”

— from the poem, A Brief History of the Present

Interested in broadening your poetic horizons beyond this quick list?
Check out some of our top picks in pop culture poetry.
And don’t forget to share your favorites with us in the comments!

Rachel Gonzalez
the authorRachel Gonzalez
Staff Writer
Rachel is a writer from Arizona who recently finished her BA at Northern Arizona University. Her four years in a mountain town got her a degree in English coupled with certificates in creative writing and literature and minors in journalism and anthropology. Her passions outside of reading and writing include RuPaul’s Drag Race, film and fitness. She loves YA fiction and comedy and hopes to turn those two loves into a novel in the near future. Favorite books: Looking for Alaska by John Green—actually, everything by John Green, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, and It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini