Here are some popular poets that I find to be quite interesting. To learn more about the art of spoken word poetry, click here to view my lesson.
Saul Williams is an American poet, actor and musician known for his poetry and hip-hop. He has performed with musicians such as Nas and Erykah Badu, as well as legendary beat poet Allan Ginsberg.
Works: Among his more well-known works are the anti-war anthems "Not In My Name" and "Act III Scene 2 (Shakespeare)". Watch his appearance on Def Poetry Jam here, performing his work Coded Language.
Taylor Mali is an American teacher and slam poet. He received an M.A. in English/Creative Writing from Kansas State University and also studied drama with the Royal Shakespeare Academy at Oxford. Taylor Mali spent nine years teaching English, history, and math.
Works: His most famous work is What Teachers Make, which you can see here. Here's an excerpt:
"I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could.
I can make a C+ feel like a Congressional medal of honor
and an A- feel like a slap in the face.
How dare you waste my time with anything less than your very best."
Another great, hilarious work by him is the "The The Impotence of Proofreading". He has also created anthologies of his poems, audio CDs and a book.
Suheir Hammad is a Palestinian-American poet, author and political activist. She was born in Amman, Jordan to Palestinian refugee parents. Her family immigrated to Brooklyn, New York City when she was 5. She has been featured in many anthologies. Hammad's poetry is influenced by her being an immigrant, dealing with September 11th attacks, as well as being a woman struggling against sexism.
Works: One of the poems which got her signed to the show Def Poetry was the poem "First Writing Since", which you can watch an excerpt of here.
"We did not vilify all white men when McVeigh bombed
America did not give out his family's addresses or where he went to
church. Or blame the Bible or Pat Robertson."
Allan Ginsberg was an American poet best known for the poem Howl, written in 1956. He was part of the Beat generation and in his works, often commented on the destructive forces of materialism and conformity in the United States at the time.
Works: Howl is his most famous work, which includes the iconic lines: ""I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked". He has published many books of his poems.
Beau Sia is a Chinese Filipino-American slam poet. His cultural identity became a common theme in his poems. Sia's style is very humorous and satirical. His word choice is often deceptively simple.
Works: He has written A Night Without Armor II: the Revenge, a parody of the singer Jewel's poetry book. He has also released a CD called Attack! Attack! Go!. You can watch him perform his piece "Hip Hop". He also created a response to Rosie O'Donnell on a remark she made, which garnered much popularity (you can watch it here) and her subsequent apology.