Most Loved Poems for World Poetry Day

Olivia Gatwood for World Poetry Day
José Olivarez for World Poetry Day
Ross Gay
Claudia Rankine
Clint Smith

It’s no secret that I love all the poetry I can get and that I love spending every day as if it’s World Poetry Day! Over the years, I discovered that I could share my voice in my most vulnerable state through this style of writing and I never looked back. Thanks to Laz, my high school English/life maestro, I was exposed to authors of color who changed my entire life and perspective on what poetry should look like. One of the greatest gifts has been gaining knowledge about authors who tend to be ignored by academia and the Canon and presenting them to my professors as alternates to the “classic” Twain, Milton, Austen, Hawthorne, and Hemingway. Why can’t we read Hughes, Morrison, Abdurraqib, Vuong, and Olivarez with the same intent and diligence as we do the old white men and women who overload academic syllabi? I haven’t made a mark or an imprint on Baylor’s English department, but I hope that if my professors remember me for one thing, it’s the countless times I’ve asked why each syllabus contains one or fewer poets of color. On this World Poetry Day, I wanted to share some of my most loved poems ever by my favorite authors ever. These pieces have spoken to me over the years, touching my soul exactly where they needed it. They taught me that my voice is important and my experiences are valid and necessary for people who look and exist like me. In recognizing these beautiful works of art and examining the impact of World Poetry Day on literature, I hope that the world of academia will ultimately begin to see that other voices exist and they are just as, if not more, powerful than the old white people we read every year. Poetry is important and valuable and I hope you love these pieces as much as I do!