On this page you will find a list of famous and not so famous poets from around the world, a list of books Pocketry recommends as well as some videos for you to watch. These lists are by no means exhaustive or definitive — once you start reading poetry, you'll find yourself going off in all sorts of strange directions and tangents — but they will provide you with a starting point on your poetry reading journey.
When you first start writing, it can be tempting to not read other poets' work for fear of being influenced and losing your own style. When you're not sure of yourself it can feel like you're going to lose yourself in someone else's work or world and become something that you're not or don't want to be.
But here's the thing — all the great poets build on the poetry that has come before them. They read it and write in response to it. They comment on it and improve it. They are in conversation with it. To join in on the conversation, you need to start reading work by other poets.
The great painters of the past started out by copying the work of the great masters. It was how they learnt the techniques of their craft and once they had mastered the basics, they went on to create their own style. Copying the poetry of poets you love is a way to learn those techniques. As long as you cite your reference by putting 'after Judith Wright' below the title of your poem, it's okay to be a fan and copy your heroes. We are all standing on the shoulders of giants after all!
So when you read poetry by other people, be critical. Note your response to a poem. Write down what you like about it. Think about its style and if it's something that resonates with you. If you are consciously responding to the poem, you won't get so lost or overwhelmed by someone else's work.
Rest assured, over time you will develop your own unique style based on all the bits and pieces you have learnt from your poetry heroes.
Here are some of the best known poets from around the world. It's a good thing to know your classics so you can build on the literary tradition as well as keeping an eye on what is happening now. This list has a mix of both past and present so you can form your own opinions and develop your own style. If there's someone who should absolutely be on this list, please let me know.
Bonus: The 32 most iconic poems in the English language by Emily Temple
|coming soon||coming soon|
|Australia & the Pacific||Europe (UK & Ireland at the moment)|
Gerald Manly Hopkins
Sir Arthur Tennyson
|North America||South America|
|Pablo Neruda (Chile)|
A list of books by contemporary poets that Pocketry recommends. Read poetry — side effects include improved writing, more compassion and an increased sense of well-being.
Australian Anthology of Prose Poems edited by Paul Hetherington and Cassandra Atherton (Melbourne University Pub, 2020)
A Book of Luminous Things:An International Anthology of Poetry edited by Czeslaw Milosz (Mariner Books, 1998)
Field Guide to Prose Poetry edited by McDowell and Rzicznek (Rose Metal Press, 2010)
Guwayu - For All Times Anthology (Red Room Poetry, 2020)
I Protest! - Poems of Dissent selected by Stephen Matthews (Ginninderra Press, 2020)
News of the Universe edited by Robert Bly (Counterpoint, 2015)
Out of the Box: Contemprorary Gay and Lesbian Australian Poets (Puncher and Wattman, 2009)
Solid Air: Australian and New Zealand Spoken Word edited by David Stranger and Anne-Marie Te Whiu (UQP, 2019)
The Oxford Anthology of Modern Indian Poetry (Oxford University Press, 1995)
You Say Spoken, I Say Word: KL Spoken Word Anthology (Skinny Walls, 2018)
Dropbear by Evelyn Araluen (UQP, 2021)
Whisper Songs by Tony Birch (UQP, 2021)
how to weave a basket by Jazz Money (UQP, 2021)
Bindi by Kirli Saunders (Magabala, 2020)
Blakwork by Alison Whitakker (Magabala Books, 2018)
Throat by Ellen Van Neerven (UQP, 2020)
Nature & Environment
Net Needle by Robert Adamson (Black Ink Books, 2015)
Broken Ground by Steve Armstrong (UWAP, 2018)
Sun Music: New and Selected Poems by Judith Beveridge (Giramondo, 2018)
All Things Flow by Tegan Gigante (Birdfish Books, 2019)
Cumulus: Collected Poems by Robert Gray (John Leonard Press, 2012)
Weeds and Wildflowers by Alice Oswald (Faber and Faber, 2011)
The Blue Plateau: A Landscape Memoir by Mark Tredinnick (UQP, 2009)
Human Looking by Andy Jackson (Giramondo, 2021)
A list of videos by contemporary poets Pocketry recommends. Watch poetry — side effects include improved performance and increased appreciation of theatrics.
Spoken Word Artists
Jericho Brown (USA)
Kate Tempest (UK)
If you have any great poets or recommended books to add to this page, please send an e-mail to hello @ indraniperera dot com with 'Pocketry's Poetry page' in the subject line so they can be added to the list.