The Best Poetry of 2018

The Year In Words

BY: Tiffany Goldstein

The state of our country has inspired several poets to write about problematic issues that spark conversation. An influential poet has the power to generate pieces that highlight sensitive topics, showcasing beauty and social impact. In 2018, we have seen poets from different backgrounds come together to deliver messages through the art of literature.  We want to kick off the year by highlighting some gifted poets that inspired us back in 2018.

Martin Espada

 Although we are honoring Martin Espada, a Latino poet who has made a prominent footprint in 2018, this isn’t the talented writer’s first rodeo. The native New Yorker is known for his political work, including “The Immigrant Iceboy’s Bolero,” “Trumpets from the islands of their Eviction,” and “Rebellion is the Circle of a Lover’s hand,” that was published back in 1982 and 1987. However, just in 2018 Espada received the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, a lifetime achievement award set by the Poetry Foundation. Espada was the first Latino recipient and winner.

Craig Morgan Teicher

Craig Morgan Teicher is a poet, critic, and writer who has made waves over the years. Teicher’s poems and reviews have graced the pages of high profile publications like the Yale Review, Boston Review, Jubilat, Colorado Review and many more. You may know him for his famous poem “The Trembling Answers,” that focuses on the meaning behind fatherhood, marriage, and poetry; he also wrote a novel, “To Keep Love Blurry,” that is full of moving poems by Teicher himself. While reading “To Keep Love Blurry,” you put yourself in his shoes as he covers the “charged and troubled spaces between intimately connected people.” In addition to all of his successes, he recently won the 2018 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize, which recognizes the most outstanding book of poetry published in the United States.

Geffrey Davis 

Geffrey Davis is the author and poet behind the successful novels “Night Angler” and “Revising the Storm.” Davis reveals the truth about our society within his writing, giving the reader a glimpse into the devious trappings of masculinity, violence, and drug use. His poems may be dark, but his complex writing and profound expression will leave you reeling. Davis is an award-winning poet who never fails to shake his fans to the core with his writing. In 2018, he was the winner of the James Laughlin Award for his forthcoming BOA editions in 2019. This honor is given to a poet who has a second book of poetry gearing to launch in the next calendar year.

 Raquel Salas Rivera

Puerto Rican poet Raquel Salas Rivera is changing the way people perceive her art form with their powerful words. Rivera is the new adult poet laureate of Philadelphia for 2018-1019. While holding this position, they hope to bring individuals from all different geographical situations together.  As a Puerto Rican poet living in the United States and someone who identifies as queer/non-binary, their work opens up critical conversations that are relevant and must be heard today. Rivera is the author of the dual-language “book x/ex/exis,”which won the 2018 Ambroggio Prize. This award is given to a poet who formulates an originally written novel in both Spanish and English. If you want to be nose deep and lost in a storyline, we highly recommend Rivera’s “Lo Terciario/ the tertiary” and “Caneca de anhelos turbios.”

John Bosworth

A rising poet is among us; remember, you heard it here first! John Bosworth is a senior at the University of Texas at Austin and who is the mind and brains behind the poem “A Boy Can Wear a Dress.” The poem emphasizes the importance and acceptance of cross-dressing. Bosworth opens up a window into a judgmental world and allows us to understand the true meaning behind why a boy can wear a dress and why it is okay.  2018 was the year of change, and John Bosworth is a poet who is making moves in the right direction. To top off the year, he was the winner of the Aliki Perroti and Seth Frank Most Promising Young Poet Award, which when recognizes students aged twenty-three and younger.