Beyond Literary Landscapes—Poetry: Part 1

From my early beginnings as a young introvert, the public library has always been a bit of a refuge.  Years later, not much has changed, albeit with an additional affinity for endless hours spent scouring second-hand bookstores to add to my ever-growing “to-read” pile.

From one bookworm to another, this column will be underscoring and outlining various literary genres, authors, and recent reads and can serve as an introduction for those unfamiliar with these works, as a refresher for long-time aficionados, and maybe as an inspiration for readers to share their own suggested topics.  Do you have a topic that you would like covered in this column?  Feel free to contact me for an interview and a feature in an upcoming column.


This week’s column will serve as a two-part introduction to the diverse and wide-ranging poetry genre, including this week’s focus on 21st-century poetry and next week’s glance at pre-21st-century poetry.  Those interested in an introduction to the vast genre of 21-st century poetry, a reminder of some genre classics, and as an inspiration for further reading, may choose to begin with three poets, namely Nayyirah Waheed, Aria Aber, and Dionne Brand.

Other poets in this genre include Sonia Sanchez, Beth Brant, and Rupi Kaur.


Poetry can be defined as “literature that evokes a concentrated imaginative awareness of experience or a specific emotional response through language chosen and arranged for its meaning, sound, and rhythm.”

Poetry is an incredibly diverse genre that can be broken down into various categories by common types of poetry including, but not limited to, blank verse, free verse, narrative poetry, odes, and ballads.  For simplicity’s sake, this column is separated into very general categories of 21st-century poetry and pre-21st-century poetry.

Some notable reads in this genre include, Nayyirah Waheed’s salt., Aira Aber’s Hard Damage, and Dionne Brand’s No Language is Neutral.


These works span a wide geographical area, including Afghanistan, the United States, Canada, Trinidad and Tobago, and Germany.


These works mainly take place in the 21st-century.


For readers interested in themes of love, displacement, migration, family, race, identity, colonization, and feminism, the works of 21st-century poets will not disappoint.


AU’s wide range of diverse courses make it easy to study this topic in depth.  Courses related to Poetry are available in a variety of disciplines, including one’s that may fit into your Degree Works.  (Always check with a counsellor to see if these particular courses fulfill your personal graduation requirements!)

AU students interested in learning more about this topic are recommended to look into ENGL 212: Poetry and Plays, a junior-level, three-credit course, which “introduces forms of poetry, with a wide variety of examples from Shakespeare to Atwood, examining themes, structure, style, and imagery.”  Happy reading!