10 Contemporary Poets You Should Know

Alex Dimitrov is a poet and man about town who works at the Academy of American Poets by day and hosts a “queer poetry salon” called Wilde Boys at night. We asked him to curate a list of his favorite poets who came of age a decade before him, in the weird and wonderful 1990s. He writes, “Happy National Poetry Month, everyone! Here are ten contemporary poets, among the many I read and admire, that you may get into this month. Most of them have a few books out and are poets who I, as a late 2000s poetry baby, grew up reading along with the so-called ‘classics.'”

The group Dimitrov chose is cosmopolitan, accomplished, and is perhaps younger than what we normally imagine our poets being. “I want you guys to know that not all poets are 105 years old and writing abstract dribble in some attic in New England,” he explains. “Poets live real lives and sometimes walk down the street like rock stars.” The scales favor published Brooklynites, which is probably unsurprising if you’re Colson Whitehead, but there’s a good mix of styles between them so don’t hate us too much. Let us know who you think we left out in the comments section below.

Thomas Sayers Ellis

Thomas Sayers Ellis is the author of The Maverick Room and Skin, Inc.: Identity Repair Poems and is the co-founder of the Dark Room Collective, an influential community of African-American poets which began in the late 1980s in Boston.