Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at GWU chapter.

I started writing poetry at the age of seven. While that sounds absurd, for poetry to manifest into a child who stopped finger painting about three years later, it is no lie. The first poem I ever wrote was for a second-grade class assignment about my little sister being born the year prior. The assignment blew my mind, and I have not left poetry since. About three hundred poems later, I am still finding places to perform alongside DC, NYC, NJ, and many new places I hope to visit. While I am a self-proclaimed poet, I have been influenced by several poets who have impacted me to strive to connect poetry with my identity as a LatinX woman. April is National Poetry Month, and the poetry community steps out for open mics, poetry events, and more each year. Specifically, poets who have impacted my work include the worlds created by brilliant and amazing people of color. There are several POC whose poetry deserves to be on your shelves this April.

Fatimah Asghar

Fatimah Asghar is a South-Asian American Muslim poet, screenwriter, and author of their most recent collection of poetry, When We Were Sisters. Asghar has worked with PBS, NPR, and many other organizations to share their work. Their first book of poetry, If They Come For Us, discusses race, religion, and other aspects of their childhood, especially being a Kashmiri person, while recognizing the difficult history of the murders of the Kashmiri people. Kashmir has faced geopolitical warfare at the hands of India over the land of Kashmir. Asghar’s family fled from Jammu and Kashmir during the Pakistan Partition, which led Asghar to use their poetry to speak on the injustices imposed upon Kashmir.

“Everyone wants Kashmir but no one wants Kashmiris./Aren’t I a miracle? A seed that survived the slaughter & slaughters to come./,” (Asghar, 2018). Through social justice for the advocacy of Kashmir, Asghar has been able to speak on many topics through their work in correlation to their race, religion, and identity. With poet Safia Elhillo, Asghar co-edited the anthology, Halal If You Hear Me, which features poems by Muslim writers for Muslim readers navigating an identity within a Queer space of literature. To learn more about Asghar and their work visit their website: Fatimah Asghar.

Jasmine Mans

Jasmine Mans is a poet, CEO, and author who has gone on to be recognized by several brands such as Ulta Beauty, Essence, Elle, and many more, who hails from New Jersey. Her most recent book, Black Girl, Call Home, highlights LGBTQ+ work and examines race through a lens of Queerness and womanhood. Focusing her work in Newark, New Jersey, she has gone on to paint murals within the town of her poetry all the while supporting those around her through her poetry. While she is a poet of many words, her stanzas and lines never leave the page without knocking a few teeth off of her audience. She makes her opinions very known through her work, which makes her a very strong poet.

In one of her poems from 2015, “Footnotes For Kanye,” she explores her internal relationship with the behavior of controversial rapper, Kanye “Ye” West. “Maybe Yeezus was all talk./Jesus never needed Adidas to walk./Why is he outlining sneakers/when the South-side is outlined in chalk?\\” (Mans, 2015). In this, she outlines the hypocrisy of the rapper who made all of these brand deals and yet has not done much to help the community he came from. Within this conversation about West, she talks about colorism, and other difficult subjects prevalent to the Black community. In doing so, she utilizes her poetry as a way to discuss the topics that are easier said on the page or the stage. To learn more about Jasmine Mans visit her website: Jasmine Mans.

tatiana Figueroa Ramirez

Tatiana Figueroa Ramirez is a DC native, poet, author, and activist. Born in Puerto Rico, Ramirez has portrayed this identity on the page through a Boriqua lens that goes past expectations of what the Caribbean diaspora can look like. She has performed her poetry in several places such as The Kennedy Center, and New York University, and continues to grow her audience via several events. With over twenty-five poems published, she has brought forth a new identity of Puerto Rican literature, and LatinX womanhood to bookstores.

Her first book, Coconut Curls y Cafe Con Leche, identifies ways her LatinX culture and identity as a woman are impacted by her environment. She identifies ties between womanhood and motherhood, and how that is reflected under a means of being LatinX. Her other novel, Despojo is a collection of poems used as a means of healing through stanzas that reflect on being able to survive, what you thought you could never live. Her poetry analyzes her own life, and reflections within her identity as a means of uplifting her community, and outside people as well. To learn more about Tatiana Figueroa Ramirez, visit her website: Tatiana Figueroa Ramirez.

Rudy Francisco

Rudy Francisco, a poet, author, artist, and activist is one of the most known names in the world of Spoken Word Poetry. He has gone on to be featured on big stages such as The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. He has worked alongside artists like Gladys Knight, Jordin Sparks, Jill Scott, and many more. While he is a massive poetry celebrity within the community, his words resonate with people outside of his target audience. 

His most recent book, Excuse Me As I Kiss The Sky, features poems that are categorized by their form, rather than their topic, which is something not many poets do in their books. One of the poems in this book, “A Series of Gentle Reminders,” examines the things we know are true about ourselves, but refuse to disclose or discuss within our minds in hopes that ignoring them altogether, will somehow go away. Francisco’s poetry essentially tells the audience all the things they sometimes do not want to admit within their own lives. His work has gone on to go several places, and his performances can be viewed on Button Poetry’s YouTube account. To learn more about Rudy Francisco, visit his website: Rudy Francisco.

Kiana Maria is a poet, activist, writer, and Sophomore currently majoring in Creative Writing and minoring in Journalism & Mass Communication and Women's, Gender, & Sexuality Studies at The George Washington University. She is an avid reader, film enthusiast, and actor. She loves to cook, read, plan events, and more. Kiana has written over 300 poems and runs her own poetry account on Instagram @kianathepoet