Pablo Neruda’s sonnets introduced me to the world of poetry and the fine-tuned delicacies of the translated written word. His lines are so intensely graceful and soulful that they act like magic mirrors: When just one of his poems is translated by 10 different English interpreters, each using their own slightly-different interpreted verbs and adjectives, they would each recreate and reflect the same gut-punching tenderness that Neruda had originally penned.
I originally found Omar Musa’s spoken word videos and was instantly taken with his bold, punk-flower descriptions as well as his powerful voice, especially since most of his work comes from his very real upbringing in a small town in New South Wales, Australia. I knew he was going to stay one of my favorites after reading “Here Come The Dogs”, where his graceful true-grit style is really on display. One of my favorite Musa lines comes from the poem CAPITAL LETTERS, where upon listing the beautiful sights found in his neighborhood streets, he notes that he found it “in sneakers that cluster-hung like grapes on powerlines.”
Iain S. Thomas
The author of the ultra-popular “I Wrote This For You” project, Iain S. Thomas writes positively soulful(and at times, haunting) short & micro poetry. I’ve always loved the beautiful craftsmanship and tenderness that he puts in each little piece, they always feel carefully hand-picked like fresh calla lilies chosen for a bride’s bouquet.
Tracy K. Smith
“Former Poet Laureate” and “Poetry Prize winner” are certainly deserving titles for Tracy K. Smith, who has such a dreamy, ethereal way of telling tiny stories through her works. I always find myself re-reading her poems again and again, because they truly find a way to weave into the deepest parts of me. I first heard her name while taking a long subway ride into Brooklyn, as her poem “The Good Life” was framed on the car’s wall next to the subway map– and it was quite fitting, because they could both show you where to go, or how to get lost.
There are many poets who write about New York City, but none of them are like JP Howard. Her intricate wordflow paints portrait after portrait of the streets of New York, namely Harlem, and a life lived and earned in the city that isn’t just the blinded head-over-heels love that other poets (and many tourists) have for the Big Apple. She speaks with grace of the day to day lives of New Yorkers who are mothers, daughters and all-around proud women, as well as the experience of Black America, and I’ve always had a deep appreciation for that.
Aim Halle Gately is a poet, author and screenwriter living in New York City. She spent years working as a freelance ghostwriter for clients writing young-adult novels and Film/TV scripts. She no longer wants to be hidden as a ghost in the wall, so she is currently working on getting her name published in various literary journals as well as assembling her first poetry chapbook. She stays inspired by writing fan-fiction in her downtime. More of her work can be found at her twitter page: @AimHalleGately.