World Poetry Day is a wonderful time to mark some of the top nonfiction poems. It is celebrated on March 21st every year to recognise the unique ability of poetry to capture the creative spirit of the human mind. The day was declared by UNESCO in 1999 with the aim of supporting linguistic diversity through poetic expression and increasing the visibility of poetry.
What are some top nonfiction poems for World Poetry Day?
As for the best nonfiction poems, there are many great works to choose from, and the choice ultimately depends on personal taste. Here are a few notable examples:
- 📚 “The Waste Land” by T.S. Eliot. This influential modernist poem is a meditation on the cultural and spiritual malaise of the early 20th century. It is a complex and allusive work that draws on a wide range of sources, from the Bible to classical mythology.
- 📚 “Howl” by Allen Ginsberg. This epic poem is a seminal work of the Beat generation and a powerful critique of post-war American society. In effect, it is a raw, visceral, and unapologetic exploration of sexuality, drug use, and countercultural rebellion.
- 📚 “Ariel” by Sylvia Plath. This collection of poems, published posthumously, is a fierce and unflinching exploration of mental illness, motherhood, and the female experience. Even though Plath uses stark and incisive language, it is is both beautiful and harrowing.
- 📚 “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” by Langston Hughes. This poem is a celebration of African-American history and culture. As it can be seen, Hughes uses the metaphor of rivers to evoke the deep roots of the black experience. In any case, it is a powerful statement of pride and resilience in the face of oppression.
- 📚 “Citizen: An American Lyric” by Claudia Rankine. This is a collection of essays, poems, and images that explores the experiences of black Americans in a predominantly white society. Through vivid descriptions and personal anecdotes, Rankine delves into topics such as microaggressions, racism, and white privilege. At the same time, she challenges readers to confront the ways in which they contribute to systemic oppression.
- 📚 “North” by Seamus Heaney. This poetry collection reflects on the Troubles in Northern Ireland. With this in mind, Heaney, uses powerful imagery and vivid language, while exploring the impact of violence on individuals and communities, as well as the complex cultural and political forces at play in the conflict. These poems offer a nuanced perspective on a turbulent period in Irish history.
In summary, these are just a few examples of the many nonfiction poems that have had a profound impact on literature and culture. In addition, remember to check out our World Book Day reads from earlier this year and check out the conversation with poet and Brown Girl Like Me author Jaspreet Kaur.