Ten (Mostly Southern) Contemporary Poets to Inspire You This Month #npm17

April is National Poetry Month, so I thought I’d share some of my favorite poetry collections by contemporary (mostly southern) 2017npm-poster_0poets. All but one of them I call friends (I haven’t met Mary Waters from Little Rock yet, although we have corresponded by email.) and I hope you’ll check them out, purchase a volume or two, and find inspiration in their verses—especially during April, but for always.


Compass of Affection by Scott Cairns


Tender Hooks by Beth Ann Fennelly


Little Wanderer by Jennifer Horne


Sinners Welcome by Mary Karr


Before the Great Troubling by Corey Mesler


Evening Body by Karissa Knox Sorrell


American Happiness by Jacqueline Allen Trimble


Other Stars Waiting by Mary N. Waters


Heaven Was the Moon by Kory Wells


Five Terraces by Ann Fisher-Wirth


11006452_10205904133316314_2399811615040176712_nFour of these (southern) poets contributed essays to the upcoming anthology I’m editing, So Y’all Think You Can Write: Southern Writers on Writing (University Press of Mississippi 2018): Beth Ann Fennelly, Jennifer Horne, Corey Mesler, and Jacqueline Allen Trimble.


And here’s a link to my one published poem: “The Imperfect Peace” (2008).


I’ll close with a favorite line from Mary Oliver’s poem, “The Summer’s Day”: 


Tell me, what is it you plan to do

With your one wild and precious life?


… or even with the month of April?


Have favorite contemporary poets? Please share them and their work with me here or on Facebook.



  • Susan, I’m honored and delighted for you to include me in your list! My own list includes Cecelia Woloch, Vandana Khanna, Darnell Arnoult, Jeff Hardin, the up-and-sky-rocketing Tiana Clark, and Bill Brown, who’s the “poetry father” of so many of us here in the Nashville area. Thank you for sharing the #poetrylove!

    April 3, 2017
    • Thanks so much for your additional list of poets. I’ve met Darnell but none of the others. I’ll check them out! Happy Poetry Month, Kory!

      April 3, 2017

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