In my last post, I wrote about some struggles I have been faced with. Depression. Anxiety. Resentment. A break up. I have always struggled with ways to cope with all of this type of stuff. When I was younger, I would bottle all my feelings up and then lash out in anger. Once I got a little older, I would drink and party to numb myself. And now, I go to therapy and find healthy ways to cope.
Therapy is intimidating to think about when you’ve never been. I sought out my first therapist when I was in college and I have never looked back. Seeing a therapist has a certain stigma attached to it, but it has helped me in all aspects of my life. It has also taught me to not rely on therapy to help me cope. It has given me the tools to cope in a healthy way on my own when I need to.
One thing that has been vital for me recently in getting through this break up and dealing with major anxiety has been reading poetry. I have always had a passion for reading and writing (I am an English teacher!), so it is always natural for me to seek refuge in those activities. I have dabbled in writing my own poetry and I have read volumes and volumes of poetry throughout the years for school, but I was never a big casual reader of poetry. Until now. I have found some modern poets that have helped me get through some dark and worrisome times. And I want to share them with you. In case you need them like I have.
- Christopher Poindexter
I’ve been reading Christopher Poindexter’s work for years now, but I first discovered him on Instagram (@christopherpoindexter). If you have an Instagram account, chances are you’ve read some of his poetry at some point. Either your friends have reposted his work or made a caption of one of their photos one of his poems, he is super popular. For good reason too. He has a rough around the edges persona, but he is truly a sensitive man who writes with intention. His words are more than words. They are comments on the human condition and you are sure to relate to his work. He is a rarity in the world today. I love his work so much that when I found out he was doing custom poems for a price, I was the first to sign up. All of his poetry is done on a typewriter and looks super clean and classic. I couldn’t wait to have an original poem about me written by one of my favorite modern poets. He sells custom poems written just for you and he sells prints of his other poems on his website. He currently has two books of poetry out, one called Naked Human and one called Lavender. I urge you to check him out, I know you will find something that resonates with you. He is truly an artist and his poetry has helped me get through some tough times.
- Cleo Wade
Cleo Wade (@cleowade on Instagram) is unique because she isn’t conventionally a poet. But I believe that anyone has the capacity to be a poet and that anything can be poetry. She writes more of tid bits to think about or mantras, not necessarily in poem form. She is truly beautiful inside and out and has brought so much peace to my life. Her mantras are so inspiring and honestly make you think about life and if you are living to the best of your abilities. I’m not huge on “inspirational, feel good” type writing, I’m usually much more attracted to the tortured artist, but Cleo’s work is so raw and straight forward. It isn’t bull shit like inspiration poems and mantras usually are. This mama keeps it real dudes. And I love her for it. If you need a pick me up or just some food for thought, check her out. You won’t be disappointed.
3. Yrsa Daley-Ward
Yrsa Daley-Ward writes from the depths of her soul. And let me just tell you, it’s beautiful. When you read her poetry it just hits you in the heart and makes you cry. She is one of the only poets that I have shed actual tears while reading her poetry. I’m not much of a crier, so something really has to move me in order for that to happen. Most of her poetry is about her African American heritage and otherness, but she also writes about love and the world and sadness. Her poems are short, not anything that take more than a few seconds to read. That is what impresses me so much about her, that her words have such meaning that they hit you that hard in just seconds. She is a gleaming talent. Do yourself a favor and follow her on Instagram (@yrsadaleyward) or order her book bone. on Amazon. It will easily become one of your most prized possessions.
4. Anisah Ali
Oh man. Oh man. Oh man. I love this poet. She is inspirational, but also writes about the deep, dark corners of life that aren’t so fun. I discovered her on Instagram (@anisahamat_) as well and I am so glad I ran across her work. When you read her poetry you can just tell that her words are her everything and that she means what she writes about. She means it so deeply. She’s on some self-love shit too, which has been increasingly helpful to me over the past few months. Anisah Ali currently has one book out, called Anonymous (you can order it here). Check her out peeps.
5. Rupi Kaur
Rupi Kaur might be my favorite poet on this list. She is radiant in all senses of the word. I’ve owned and cherished her book, Milk and Honey since it came out. She tells her story through poetry. She writes about pain and love and suffering and joy. She speaks her truth and she is incredibly honest. Her honesty is what drew me to her. She performs her poems, makes art (photography and paintings), and does public speaking events (she has a Ted Talk). I have never felt so enraptured by a piece of writing as I was when I first read Milk and Honey. If you are looking for something to get lost in, pick up a copy. Also give her a follow on Instagram (@rupikaur_).
6. Dallas Clayton
Dallas Clayton just makes me smile. He is so positive and inspiring. I have never been the sunshiny, everything is going to be ok type. I’m more of the everything sucks and then you die type. After this break up, I was reaching out for positivity in my life. I wanted to feel better and although I am often pessimistic, I knew how much I needed a little bit of light in my life. I needed to smile. I needed to read something that meant something to me. Then I found Dallas Clayton. Dallas doesn’t identify himself as a poet, but again anything can be poetry depending on how the audience views it. He is an LA based illustrator, author, mural painter, and public speaker. He spreads positivity through everything he does. Funny enough, he kind of reminds me of a modern Dr. Seuss. If you need some light in your life, follow him on Instagram (@dallasclayton). His drawings and paintings will undoubtedly make you smile and make you feel the innocence of being a kid again.
7. Nayyirah Waheed
If you don’t check any of the other poets mentioned in this post, PLEASE check Nayyirah Waheed out. She will blow you away. Most of her poetry is like that of Yrsa Daley-Ward, she writes a lot about being a woman of color. She writes beautifully. She writes truthfully. She writes with such passion. I immediately bought her books, salt. and nejma this summer when I started to really dig the poetry I saw her posting on Instagram (@nayyirah.waheed). I’ve read both of them probably five times over. Her writing is so captivating. Her and Yrsa Daley-Ward are each coming out with 5 new poems on December 6th and I couldn’t be more excited. Please check her out.
There are many other modern poets that I adore such as; Robert M. Drake, Tyler Knott Greyson, Sarah Kay, and Iain Thomas. This is just a list of people I am digging lately and that have helped me overcome my anxiety, pain, and worries over the past few months. I have found such comfort in their words. Words are reliable. Words stay. Words can change you. These words have changed me in many ways. If you are going through something and things just don’t seem to be working out for you, try out reading some poetry. Even if you aren’t a literary fiend like myself, you might find comfort in these words like I have. Give it a try.