ReadersMagnet Review recommends these five inspirational poets and their works for October 2021.
Jay Hopler is a Professor of English from San Juan, Puerto Rico, and an award-winning poet. He holds a Ph.D. in American Studies from Purdue University. He also graduated from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop (M.F.A., Creative Writing/Poetry), the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars (M.A., Creative Writing/Poetry), and New York University (B.A., English and American Literature). In 2013, Hopler published Before the Door of God: An Anthology of Devotional Poetry, which he co-authored with his wife and fellow poet, Kimberly Johnson. The book contributes to devotional poetry as it features the development of devotional English-language poetry from its origins in ancient hymnody to its current twenty-first-century incarnations. He is currently living in Tampa, Florida, with his wife.
Marilyn Nelson is an American poet and translator from Cleveland, Ohio. She is also a children’s book author with over a dozen published works. As a child of a U.S. serviceman in the Air Force, Marilyn grew up on military bases. She started writing while in elementary school. Nelson holds a B.A. from the University of California-Davis and an M.A. from the University of Pennsylvania. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in 1979. Her notable and award-winning inspirational poetry books include Carver, A Life in Poems, The Homeplace, A Wreath for Emmett Till, Faster Than Light: New and Selected Poems, and The Cachoeira Tales, and Other Poems. Nelson was elected a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets in 2013.
Raymond Quattlebaum so far has two published poetry books in his name, Poetry in Motion (2009) and The Color of Love (2018). The African-American poet has undoubtedly established himself as one of today’s modern young devotional poets. He writes with conviction and passion for his faith. He also looks to his surroundings and speaks truth in his poetry. In both his books, we see Raymond Quattlebaum in reflection of love for his faith, God’s bounty, and life’s beauty. These are common themes in inspirational literature, but Raymond Quattlebaum’s are not the typical melodic and serene. They burst with energy and life, pushing the boundaries of what devotional poetry should be. This is what makes Raymond and his poetry unique and significant.
Christian Wiman is a poet, translator, editor, and author of several award-winning books and hails from West Texas. He earned his B.A. from Washington and Lee University. From 2013 to 2013, Christian Wiman served as the editor of Poetry magazine. His award-winning works include Every Riven Thing, The Long Home, and He Held Radical Light: The Art of Faith, the Faith of Art (2018). Wiman’s My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer is his most personal work and is a spiritual classic. It tackles faith in times of adversity and in the face of death. Christian Wiman also taught at Stanford University, Northwestern University, Lynchburg College, and Yale Divinity School. He now resides in New Haven, Connecticut.
Six years after his death, award-winning American poet Frantz Wright remains one of his generation’s most relevant devotional poets. Frantz and his father, James Wright, are the only parent/child pair to have won the Pulitzer Prize in the same category (Poetry). God’s Silence and Walking to Martha’s Vineyard are among the most inspirational by Frantz Wright. Both masterpieces speak of his spiritual joy and personal relationship with God. Frantz Wright’s inspirational poetry books always celebrate faith, devotion, hope, and humanity. His legacy will always live not only among Christian poets but also among those who produce inspirational literature.