Rupi Kaur

5 Poets You Should Be Reading Who Aren’t Rupi Kaur

Not that there’s anything wrong with Rupi Kaur. She’s sold hundreds of millions of copies of her book. You can’t argue with those numbers. She’s the most popular poet around.


There are other people writing poetry too. Some are really good. Although Rupi Kaur might have opened your eyes to the artform, maybe you need some recommendations on who to check out next. You should check these people out. They’re good, I promise.


1. Denice Frohman



2. Kaveh Akbar


Despite My Efforts Even My Prayers Have Turned into Threats


Holy father I can’t pretend
I’m not afraid to see you again
but I’ll say that when the time
comes I believe my courage
will expand like a sponge
cowboy in water. My earth-
father was far braver than me — 
coming to America he knew
no English save Rolling Stones
lyrics and how to say thanks
God. Will his goodness roll
over to my tab and if yes, how
soon? I’m sorry for neglecting
your myriad signs, which seem
obvious now as a hawk’s head
on an empty plate. I keep waking
up at the bottom of swimming
pools, the water reflecting
whatever I miss most: whiskey-
glass, pill bottles, my mother’s
oleander, which was sweet
and evergreen but toxic in all
its parts. I know it was silly
to keep what I kept from you;
you’ve always been so charmed
by my weaknesses. I just figured
you were becoming fed up with
all your making, like a virtuoso
trying not to smash apart her
flute onstage. Plus, my sins
were practically devotional:
two peaches stolen from
a bodega, which were so sweet
I savored even the bits I flossed
out my teeth. I know it’s
no excuse, but even thinking
about them now I’m drooling.
Consider the night I spent reading
another man’s lover the Dream
Songs in bed — we made it to
“a green living / drops
limply” before we were
tangled into each other, cat
still sleeping at our feet. Allow
me these treasures, Lord.
Time will break what doesn’t
bend — even time. Even you.


3. Morgan Parker


Let Me Handle My Business, Damn


Took me awhile to learn the good words
make the rain on my window grown
and sexy now I’m in the tub holding down
that on-sale Bordeaux pretending
to be well adjusted I am on that real
jazz shit sometimes I run the streets
sometimes they run me I’m the body
of the queen of my hood filled up
with bad wine bad drugs mu shu pork
sick beats what more can I say to you
I open my stylish legs I get my swagger
back let men with gold teeth bow to my tits
and the blisters on my feet I become electric
I’m a patch of grass the stringy roots
you call home or sister if you want
I could scratch your eyes make hip-hop die again
I’m on that grown woman shit before I break
the bottle’s neck I pour a little out: I am fallen


4. Rachel McKibbens


deeper than dirt


after the poet asked how I would bury my brother


Beyond the carrots and blind white worms, beyond
the yellowing bone orchards and corkscrew roots, 
beyond the center of this churchless earth, beloved Peter, 
my little sorcerer, brought up dirty & wrong, you deserve more 
than to be smothered in mud. For all the gravel you were fed, 
for every bruise and knot that named you, I must plant you 
in a bed of blood-hot muscle, must deliver you into me, so I may
carry you as the only mother you have ever known. 


5. Tracy K. Smith




There will be no edges, but curves.
Clean lines pointing only forward.


History, with its hard spine & dog-eared
Corners, will be replaced with nuance,


Just like the dinosaurs gave way
To mounds and mounds of ice.


Women will still be women, but
The distinction will be empty. Sex,


Having outlived every threat, will gratify
Only the mind, which is where it will exist.


For kicks, we’ll dance for ourselves
Before mirrors studded with golden bulbs.


The oldest among us will recognize that glow—
But the word sun will have been re-assigned


To the Standard Uranium-Neutralizing device
Found in households and nursing homes.


And yes, we’ll live to be much older, thanks
To popular consensus. Weightless, unhinged,


Eons from even our own moon, we’ll drift
In the haze of space, which will be, once


And for all, scrutable and safe.


Rupi Kaur

Image Via All Poetry


Feature Image Via The New York Times