30 Over 30: Poet's Edition
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30 Over 30: Poet's Edition

30 poets over 30 years old: our founding family.

30 Over 30: Poet's Edition
Poetry Slam Inc

Oftentimes, especially in the age of digital technology and YouTube fame, the poets who gave us our start are often forgotten or left out.This article is inspired by the founders of the poetry community. The folks that sometimes get overlooked in the push for the newest, the hippest, the youngest of the bunch. I've written a few articles now focusing largely on younger poets, so I wanted to write this for the poets who are a constant source of inspiration. So, this thread is dedicated to the poets who have been there, served their time, done work for years and years, and are absolutely sensational. This is dedicated to the poets who are inspirations and legends. I could have added 30 more onto this list and still it wouldn't be enough to cover all of the incredible poets. So, as always, feel free to add your favorites in the comments section below!

1. Suzi Q. Smith

(Video Credit: Button Poetry)

Suzi Q. is a beast poet who blows my mind at whatever she sets her mind to. I got to witness her run the National Poetry Slam last August and this woman did it all phenomenally.

2. Buddy Wakefield

(Video Credit: SpeakeasyNYC)

Buddy Wakefield is the definition of brilliant. Buddy performs like he is just having a conversation with a thousand people at once and talks to each and every person in the audience individually.

3. Marc Smith

(Video Credit: Media Burn Archive)

Marc Smith (So what?) is the founder of slam poetry and that just about sums up his brilliance. He started this great craze that has swept not only the nation, but the entire planet.

4. Jesse Parent

(Video Credit: Button Poetry)

Jesse Parent is one of the coolest poets I've ever met. His awesomeness is unprecedented and his talent for both comedy and poetry is beyond anything I had ever experienced.

5. Patricia Smith

(Video Credit: Urbanrenewalprogram)

Patricia Smith is one of the "founders" of slam poetry, in my mind. Phenomenal and exquisite are only two words to describe Patricia's poetry.

6. Beau Sia

(Video Credit: Spoken Poetry TV)

Beau Sia is not only one of the best dressed poets, known for tie-dye outfits, but is also one of the funniest poets out there. They are a pro at being dead serious at being hilarious.

7. Andrea Gibson

(Video Credit: Sofar Sounds)

Andrea Gibson is an inspiration to poets everywhere. They are known for their activism and their poetry continues to touch hearts everywhere.

8. Stefan Gambrell

(Video Credit: Wise Words Festival)

I met Stefan Gambrell on my trip to England last fall and he is such a sweetheart. He is a hard worker and he never lets the world get him down. I had the pleasure of beating him and being beaten by him in several poetry slams last year.

9. Christopher Michael

(Video Credit: Button Poetry)

Christopher Michael is a great poet, but is also incredibly friendly to everyone he meets. His personality in and outside of his poetry is part of the charm.

10. Rachel Wiley

(Video Credit: Button Poetry)

Rachel Wiley is everything great about poetry and everything I aspire to. She is exceptionally fierce and brave in every poem she performs.

11. Christian Drake

(Video Credit: Vancouver Poetry Slam)

I am fortunate enough to have Christian Drake in my poetry community in Northampton, MA. His poise and ease in performance, whether the poem is brand new or a decade old continues to blow my mind.

12. Marty McConnell

(Video Credit: Spoken Poetry TV)

In just about every article I write about favorite poets, Marty is in them. Marty McConnell was my inspiration at Nationals last year and continues to inspire me any time I read or watch her poetry.

13. Sage Francis

(Video Credit: Epitaph Records)

Sage Francis is a god amongst men. He is the king of rhyme, of puns, of clever and witty lines. I could listen to his performances over and over and over and still, I would learn more and more.

14. Richard Siken

Richard Siken is definitely not a "slam poet," but at least 3 contemporary, younger poets have referred me to his work. Upon reading his work, there is no question as to why and how he is able to inspire so many.

15. Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib

(Video Credit: Button Poetry)

Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib just hosted Rustbelt Regionals in Columbus, Ohio. Hanif is everything and more when it comes to poetry. Hanif is pretty famous. There is nothing but love for him.

16. Ryk McIntyre

(Video Credit: Kent Thompson)

Ryk McIntyre is one of those veteran poets who continues to inspire the poetry community often. Ryk is a staple in the realm of poetry and only continues to encourage and help the new generation of poets.

17. Zeke Russell

(Video Credit: Chad Parenteau)

I had the pleasure of watching Zeke Russell in Cantab Slam Team Finals this past March and I continue to be impressed by his work and his personality. He is extremely welcoming and one incredible poet.

18. Sarah Frances Moran

(Video Credit: Sarah Frances Moran)

Sarah Frances Moran is one of my poetry editor/writer/publisher soul mates. Between her work at Yellow Chair Review and her incredible growth in performance, there's so much to love.

19. Gayle Danley

(Video Credit: Young Audiences Maryland)

Gayle Danley has been performing poetry for as long as I can remember and still does incredible work every single time. She is a professional in every sense of the word.

20. Paulie Lipman

(Video Credit: Button Poetry)

Paulie Lipman is unique in so many ways. That uniqueness does not stop with multicolored hair, but extends through the poetry itself.

21. Regie Gibson

(Video Credit: We Are CSW)

Regie Gibson is ALL class, ALL rhythm, ALL musicality. The music that Regie creates from his body and his poetry is nothing short of spectacular.

22. Adam Grabowski

(Sound Credit: Voicemail Poems)

Adam Grabowski is another member of the Northampton MA community and I have had the extreme honor of being in a poetry workshop with Adam. There is nothing-- I repeat, nothing-- like an Adam poem. It is exquisite and condensed and fantastic.

23. Billy Tuggle

(Video Credit: All Def Poetry)

I adore Billy Tuggle. Not only is he so supportive of poets writing about the poetry community, but he is one incredibly talented poet himself. Billy makes magic come alive onstage.

24. Shane Koyczan

(Video Credit: Shane Koyczan)

Shane Koyczan is one of those major poet crushes that I can't seem to get over. He's written some of my favorite poetic lines in the English language. My heart can't stop pounding in my chest when I hear his remarkable poetry.

25. Dominique Christina

(Video Credit: SlamFind)

A member of Sister Outsider, Dominique Christina is all attitude and spunk, all woman, all powerful. Getting the chance to sit in the front row and see her wreck the mic was an experience, not just a performance.

26. Alex Charalambides

(Video Credit: Worcester Poets' Asylum)

Alex Charalambides comes from our close neighboring town of Worcester, MA and hosts poetry events out there. Apparently there are snacks, quizzes, goofy moments, and fun times. Not to mention Alex's incredible poetry.

27. Eirean Bradley

(Video Credit: Button Poetry)

Eirean Bradley was first introduced to me through someone covering his work. Then I watched the original poem. Then I learned he was the editor of Drunk in a Midnight Choir. Then I realized he lived in my state. All of this to say, he's a phenomenal poet and contributes to the poetry community in extraordinary ways.

28. Jeanann Verlee

(Video Credit: Robotsonparade)

Jeanann Verlee got me through my teenage years. She got me through breakups. She got me through love and loss. When poetry becomes a catalyst for healing and change, that speaks to its power. Jeanann's poetry is power.

29. Jared Paul

(Video Credit: Jared Paul)

Jared Paul is one of the most interesting poets I've ever had the pleasure of meeting. There is so much I could say about Jared. He does spoken word. He is an activist. He is outspoken and awesome. I've seen other poets rep his merchandise at their features.

30. Saul Williams

(Video Credit: Saul Williams Vevo)

If you don't fall in love with Saul Williams work, his books, his poetry, his sound-- Then give him a second or third or fourth listen. There is only brilliance in his poetry.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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