In the age of digital media, some people may probably think that print media is already dead. However, there are still more people who value buying physical copies like books, to enjoy reading. Aside from novels and biographies, poems are also bestsellers.
To date, there are new breeds of poets to discover—younger writers with fresh new ideas and perspectives. These poets connect to the readers intimately, with new platforms to help them be discovered. The term coined is instapoet—poetry posted on the social media platform Instagram to reach more people.
While some of these poets post their work online for digital consumption, they also publish their work. You will be surprised how many copies these new breeds of authors and poets sold. In this article, we are exploring the most profitable poets in the world.
10. Tracy K. Smith
Tracy Smith is an award-winning poet and author of books such as Life on Mars, Wade in the Water, and The Body’s Question. Born in the United States, she has been able to build a name for herself with poetry. Aside from writing poetry, she also teaches creative writing at Princeton University.
As a young artist, Smith was able to bag a lot of awards including the acclaimed Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for her work, Life on Mars. She also won several awards like New York Times Editors’ Choice, James Laughlin Award of the Academy of American Poets, and the Essence Literary Award.
9. Amanda Lovelace
Women can relate to Amanda Lovelace’s striking lines on femininity, healing, grief, and love. In her Woman Are Some Kind of Magic Book series, she was able to inspire on the subject of belongingness and writing your own ending.
Lovelace was recently awarded the Goodreads Poet of the Year, with her work, The Princess Saves Herself In This One. The title was sold for thousands of copies, not only in the United States but also in other parts of the world.
8. Nikita Gill
Nikita Gill is one of the poets who use online platforms to engage readers and connect to more people. With 563,000 followers on Instagram, Gill was able to build a reputation for herself, tackling stories on love, soul searching, and heartbreak.
Gill’s famous title, Your Soul Is A River, touch on a person’s experiences on love, the journey to healing, and remembering to love oneself. The book of poems received a lot of positive response from readers, with a rating of 4.14/5 on Goodreads.
7. Louise Gluck
Poets like Louise Gluck set the bar too high for the poetry division, with her flowing, narrative style that simply gives a taste of love, hope, and loss in her works. Gluck’s first major award was back in 1993 when she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry with The Wild Iris poetry collection.
Ten years after, she was appointed as the Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress. This is after Gluck served as the Special Bicentennial Consultant for three years. In 2014, she won another award, The National Book Award for Poetry with Faithful and Virtuous Night.
6. Cleo Wade
Profit: $1 million
Once called the Oprah of the millennials, Cleo Wade is simply influential on her own for creating memorable poems for people to reflect on. At 30, Wade is already accomplished. She has hundreds of thousands of followers and also has acclaimed publications, she is at her peak.
Three years ago she gave a TED talk entitled, ‘Want to Change the World?’ and garnered a million views on the website. Wade is not only a poet but also an activist.
5. Ada Limón
Profit: $1 million
American poet Ada Limón is known for her disarming honesty in her poems. At the age of 44, she was able to publish five books, one of which was named a finalist for the 2015 National Book Award in Poetry.
Limón’s work is simply engaging; flowing narrative and brilliant composition, she’s one of the favorites of many poetry critics. Her recent collection, The Carrying, provides a glimpse of acceptance, hope, and loving again. Her title, ‘Bright Dead Things’ sold more than 20,ooo copies.
4. Rupi Kaur
Profit: $1.5 million
Her initials are everywhere; from Instagram to Pinterest, and at various other establishments. To say that Rupi Kaur is successful is an obvious thing. At a young age of 27, Kaur already dominates the Instapoetry division.
Kaur is the author of acclaimed poetry books The Sun and Her Flowers and Milk & Honey. She’s already a New York Times bestselling author and illustrator. She’s very famous among the younger audience, particularly those who are engaged in social media. In 2014, her book Milk & Honey sold more than 2.5 million copies in 25 languages.
3. Mary Oliver
Profit: $4 million
Even though it’s been a year since she passed, Mary Oliver’s influence on poetry still remains. Her works offer great intensity and intimacy, not just for humans but also for animals. Whenever she can, Oliver always adds an animal element in her prose.
In her 2013 book Dog Songs, she was able to compile poems for people who are attached to their canines. This collection of prose is nothing short of amazing, with her writing style as the cherry on top. Before she died, Oliver was worth more than $4 million at the age of 83.
2. Lang Leav
Profit: $5 million
The list of the most profitable poets in the world wouldn’t be complete without the famous Lang Leav. She is the Thailander who bought home the Qantas Spirit of Youth Award and Goodreads Choice Award for Poetry.
Leav was able to connect to a younger audience with her intimate love, heartbreak poetry, and unique storytelling style. Her books Love & Misadventure, Lullabies, Memories, The Universe of Ours, Sea of Strangers, and Love Looks Pretty on You sold millions of copies worldwide.
1. Maya Angelou
Profit: $10 million
The number one on the list is the African American writer Maya Angelou. She was famous for her tender and striking poems about women, love, loss, struggle, music, and racism. During her time, she was mostly called the ‘people’s poet’ because she gives voice to the people, especially people of color.
Angelou’s famous publications include I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, On The Pulse of Morning, Letters to My Daughter, and Mrs. Flowers are few of the books that are considered bestsellers even after 20 years. She’s made a fortune with her works, especially with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.
Literary authors also make a huge fortune out of writing poems. Now that there are more means to share snippets of books and lines of poems, it is easier for authors to be known and discovered.
These best-selling authors are only some of the most successful in their respective careers as poets. In the coming years, more and more writers can tell new stories through writing poems.
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