Three IG Poets to Follow
Poets of color leaving their mark on the game
Poetry is an ancient art form, but today’s writers are breathing life into the genre and creating new fans through social media. Check out three wordsmiths of color repping the power of language on IG the same way others rep shoes, clothes and travel.
“Here in the shallow blue of morning/unimpressed by the sun/blackness has escaped me again”
Danez Smith considers poetry his first tongue and uses it to connect on a deep level with his 6,000 followers. His writings showcase the intersectionality of his world, “messy with all the identities” that come with being African American, queer and HIV positive. His work often deals with societal issues like racism, but he is hopeful for the day when the world has changed enough that he can instead write about his grandmother’s smile or his uncles’ chats on the porch .. the day he can focus solely on black joy.
“You only get to fall in love once with your heart still whole.”
Lang Leav’s family immigrated to Australia as refugees from war in Cambodia when she was a young child. She found a home in the poetry books at her local public library. And her work reflects a lifetime of love for the genre. Her work explores love and femininity, with an undercurrent of loss reflecting her refugee experience. In her posts, she says, she hopes other women of color, Asian women in particular, are reminded that they can be anything they want—including a world-famous poet.
“I remember all of your faces inside a single face.”
Ohio is a central character in much of Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib, a Columbus native’s work. His writing serve as an archive of life in the Midwest, exploring issues like gentrification and its generational impact. Instagram, much like poetry, Willis-Abdurraqib says, allows him to share his voice. The immediacy of responses affords a connection that allows Willis-Abdurraqib to stay grounded even as his work spreads among thousands.
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