Poets can (and do) change the world, a word at a time!
And if you’re curious to learn more about some of the world’s most renowned poets, then you’ll enjoy this read.
So whether you’re an aspiring poet or just a lover of poetry, buckle up as we review 9 poet interviews on Youtube worth your free time!
1. Rupi Kaur Interview
If you’ve got 47 minutes to spare, I’d recommend watching this epic Rupi Kaur interview. The highly-rated modern-day poet sits down with Emma Watson and gives us a glimpse of what life as an artist entails.
Emma Watson’s composed interviewing style allows Kaur to settle seamlessly into the interview. And you can tell that the two enjoy each other’s company and have mutual respect for one another.
In the interview, you’ll learn about Kaur’s style, her journey as a poet, and how she’s adjusted as a poet in the social media era.
When asked whether social media and feedback have a bearing on her style, Kaur responds by asserting that while she respects her readers’ opinions, she tries to remain authentic and communicate her thoughts without any external influences.
Kaur also sheds light on her evolution as an artist and how she continues to package herself as a poet, illustrator, author, and general creative.
You’ll enjoy this interview if you’re a big fan of Kaur or poetry in general. It’s not an explosive interview, but it sure is entertaining and informative in equal measure.
2. John Ashbery Interview
In this brief interview, John Ashbery, one of America’s most revered poets, answers 10 questions about his life, poetic journey, and achievements.
While the interviewer comes off as a bit too direct, Ashbery’s humility and modesty stands out, especially when answering questions about his successes.
Any poet, whether budding or experienced, will enjoy hanging out with Ashbery and the interviewer for these few minutes.
Although short, you’ll still learn a thing or two about Ashbery’s style and how he views poetry in general.
It’s a great watch for those short breaks, especially if you’re looking for some inspiration from one of the industry’s greatest ever.
3. Leonard Cohen Interview
Leonard Cohen’s arguably one of the most respected poets of the 21st century, and this 1966 interview reveals just how invested he was in his poetry.
Although relatively short, the interview gives us a quick glimpse into Cohen’s approach to his work and his core inspiration.
This vintage interview depicts a young Cohen at the near peak of his poetic career, just before he went on and blew up as a musician.
From his responses, it’s clear that Cohen had a distinct, unwavering approach to his poem and was keen on creating pieces with immediate impact.
Adrienne Clarkson, the host running the interview, does a fantastic job of asking the right questions and allowing Cohen enough time to express himself.
The interview feels almost like a conversation and is highly recommended if you’re looking for some old-school inspiration.
4. Maya Angelou Interview
In this 42-minute interview, Oprah Winfrey sits down with one of the best in the business, the late Maya Angelou.
You don’t have to be a poet to enjoy this one, really, as Angelous’ wisdom shines throughout the interview as she touches base on her early life, her motivations, challenges, and, of course, her works.
Oprah doesn’t hide her admiration for Angelou, as she repeatedly states that she’s her biggest inspiration and a major part of her success as a media personality.
Besides spewing wisdom, Maya Angelou also shows us her hilarious side as she doesn’t shy away from cracking jokes whenever the opportunity presents itself.
If you’re a poet looking to borrow a leaf (or a branch) from Angelou’s colossal tree, then you’ll find this inspiring interview to be of great use.
As usual, Oprah understood the assignment and made the interview a conversation. It largely feels like a life discussion between two successful icons that are looking to hand down some much-needed words of wisdom to the younger generation.
So if you’re in search of some motivation, I’d recommend sparing some 40 or so minutes to watch this epic interview that’s bound to change your perspective of art and life as a whole.
5. Eileen Myles Interview
If you’ve come across Eileen Myles’ works in the past, then you understand just how important equality and representation is to the controversial yet highly respected poet.
Myles’ direct style and daring personality are arguably two of her greatest tools, especially as she tackles sensitive issues affecting the LGBTQ community in her poems.
While you won’t learn much about her early history, the interview gives you an insight into what motivates her work and how she perceives her role as an ‘unconventional’ poet.
Myles insists that poetry and protest go hand in hand and that poets should be at the frontline of activism.
Her work is mainly centered on activism as she tries to inspire change and inclusion, especially in issues involving women.
Although just 7 minutes long, the interview is entertaining, informative, and perhaps even more importantly, thought-provoking as it challenges what the world views as normal.
6. Sherman Alexie Interview
Widely viewed as one of the most successful Native American authors in recent history, Sherman Alexie sits down with Enrique Cerna and shares about his childhood and accomplishments.
This 26-minute interview will leave you in awe of Alexie, especially considering the challenges he had to overcome to find himself.
From leaving the reserves at the tender age of 14 to dealing with breakups and a lack of identity, Alexie reveals the depth of his struggles. However, he insists that he knew he was meant to write when he interacted with the first American Indian poetry book.
Enrique Cerna’s interviewing prowess shines throughout the interview as he allows the poet cum author enough time to express himself. The questions are also on point as they pave the way for constructive, highly informative dialogue.
You’ll get to learn about Alexie’s early struggles and his transition from poetry to fiction and teenage books.
You can easily tell that the award-winning native American author is not only proud of his achievements but also keen to leave a lasting impact that’ll motivate children from minority groups.
Although the interview isn’t fast-paced, it’s still entertaining as Alexie’s and is almost guaranteed to leave you inspired and motivated to overcome whatever challenging situations you might be facing.
7. Seamus Heaney Interview
Seamus Heaney needs no introduction as he’s one of the most accomplished poets of the 20th century. The late poet is widely viewed as one of Northern Ireland’s greatest exports, more so after receiving the 1995 Nobel Prize in Literature.
In this interview, the renowned poet and author shares more about his journey and experiences as a writer. He even narrates how he learned about his Nobel award.
If you’re into intellectual interviews about literature and creative arts, then you’ll enjoy this 40-minute.
You can learn a lot about Hearneys personality just by the way he responds to questions. Although confident, he exudes an enviable level of humility despite being among the most decorated poets in the late 20th century.
He also mentions a few of his poetic inspirations and shares more about his book ‘The Spirit Level.’
This interview is a must-watch if you’re into poetry or at least if you’re a fan of Heany’s work and achievements.
8. Margaret Atwood Interview
There’s never a dull moment with Margeret Atwood. In this short video, the world-renowned author describes her unique writing style while shedding some light on her previous works.
As the interview progresses, Atwood shares more about her experiments in her poems and novels.
I’d recommend this video if you’re bored or want something exciting to spark up your break.
Some of the topics Atwood covers during this brief interview include her approach to criticism, how she’s integrated social media into her works, and her view of pop culture.
It’s amazing to see such an experienced poet and author so in-touch with the current world. You can’t help but fall in love with Atwood’s personality as she’s full of humor, which makes the interview a lot more enjoyable.
9. Sarah Kay
Although more of a Q&A than an interview, this 6-minute video lets you into Sara Kay’s world, at least from a poetic point of view.
The audience members get to ask questions involving Sara’s ‘Project Voice’ and her future goals for the organization. Sara also gets to respond to a number of questions involving poetry, spoken word, and inspiration.
I’d recommend watching this short and precise Q&A session if you’re a budding poet or you want to know more about Kay’s projects and how to improve as an artist.
One particular response that stands out is when Sara Kay is asked about how to get started as a poet. While she advises that listening to other poets and spoken word artists is key to learning the ropes, she discourages listening to one particular artist.
Mixing up poet performances allows you to pick up different styles as you get your own unique technique.
So if you’re a fan of Sara Kay, watching this brief Q&A might help you pick up invaluable skills that can help you develop as a poet and artist in general.
What Makes A Good Poet?
With thousands of poets sprinkled across the world, it might be hard to know what exactly makes a poet outstanding.
But based on the interviews above, it’s easy to summarize important attributes that budding poets must possess to make it in the demanding and equally competitive industry.
Here’s what you need to do to become a good poet.
Develop Your Unique Poetic Style
As you’ve probably learned from your interaction with poetic works of other artists, every poet has their unique style.
While artists might communicate about the same societal issues, each will tackle the topics differently, which is vital in finding a unique ‘poetic voice.’
No matter how many poets you listen to, it’s vital to develop your unique style that allows you to communicate your issues or topics in the best possible way.
Dive Deep Into Your Themes
Although it might be tempting to write about a variety of themes at once, focusing on one at a time will allow you to establish a deeper connection with your readers.
Most of the legendary poets on our list have written about a variety of topics. The trick, however, is to commit to a particular theme until you’re positive you’ve exhausted your points.
It can also help to specialize in a particular topic or genre until you get a solid footing.
A good poet should be authentic and try to be as original as possible. No matter how desirable it might be to sound like a mentor or take up a trendy style, you must strive to remain true to yourself, your values, and style.
As such, you should learn to deal with criticism and avoid letting it get the better of you. Listen to your peers, mentors, and even audience, but don’t let that change your poetic style or identity.
Who Is The Best Poet of All Time?
The best poet of all time largely depends on personal preferences as even the greatest poets appeal to unique audiences. Artists like Maya Angelou, Margaret Atwood, Leonard Cohen, John Ashbery, and Seamus Heany are some of the most decorated poetic legends of recent times.
However, several new-age poets like Rupi Kaur and Sara Kay have also established themselves as future legends in the making.