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Become Well-Versed in Ohio Poets

Check out these Ohio poets for your next reading day!

"They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us" by Hanif Abdurraqib at Two Dollar Radio in Columbus

Become Well-Versed in Ohio Poets

By Maggie Butler

Posted On: Apr 25, 2021

Ohio is home to many brilliant minds and artists, including poets. Here is a list of some of the most acclaimed poets that reign from Ohio:

stack of books on a table inside two dollar radio bookstore in columbus ohio

Hanif Abdurraqib

Abdurraqib is a modern-day poet, essayist and cultural critic from Columbus. His second published work "Go Ahead In The Rain: Notes To A Tribe Called Quest" was met with critical acclaim and became a New York Times Bestseller. His latest book, "A Little Devil In America," was published in March 2021. 

Amit Majmudar

Majmudar didn't take the traditional path of a poet, earning his MD at Northeast Ohio Medical University and completing his medical residency at the University Hospitals of Cleveland. His poems explore themes of identity, history, spiritual faith and mortality. He was Ohio's first Poet Laureate.

Dave Lucas

Born and raised in Cleveland, Lucas attended John Carroll University before becoming the second Poet Laureate of the state of Ohio. In 2012, he co-founded Brews and Prose, a monthly literary series hosted at Market Garden Brewery.

Kari Gunter Seymour

You'll be transported to the mountains when reading Seymour's work which is attached to her home soil and examines the long-lasting effects of stereotype and false perceptions surrounding native Appalachians. A ninth generation Appalachian, Seymour was recently named Poet Laureate of Ohio.

Dunbar's Writing Room at the Paul Laurence Dunbar House in Dayton Ohio
Dunbar's Writing Room at the Paul Laurence Dunbar House in Dayton

Paul Laurence Dunbar

One of the first influential Black poets in American literature, Dunbar first showed his talent while attending high school in Dayton. During his short career, Dunbar published a dozen books of poetry, books of short stories, four novels, lyrics for a musical, and a play. You can also visit the Paul Laurence Dunbar House in Dayton.

Coates Kinney

Kinney had an illustrious career, serving as a Civil War Army Paymaster, Ohio Senator, newspaper editor/owner and Poet Laureate of Ohio. You can also listen to his poem "Minnehaha." 

Jessie Brown Pounds

Jessie Brown Pounds, born in Hiram, was a poet, novelist, essayist and composer of more than 800 hymns. Her most famous hymn was said to be President William McKinley's favorite and was sung at his funeral in 1901

John M. Hay

Although John Hay's official career was in government, he was a talented poet and author as well. While serving as a private secretary and assistant to Abraham Lincoln, as well as Secretary of State under Presidents William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt, he continued to write and publish his works.

Nicholas Vachel Lindsay

Known for his forceful rhythms and his desire to popularize poetry among the American people, Lindsay is considered the founder of modern "singing poetry," in which verses are meant to be sung or chanted. Lindsay studied medicine at Ohio's Hiram College from 1897 to 1900, and returned in 1908 after undertaking a poetry-selling trek, walking from New York City to Hiram.

For more Ohio arts & culture, check out #OhioFindItHere at Ohio.org.

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