This month, I’ve taken some extra time to scour the YouTube landscape to find all the very best channels and playlists dedicated to poetry. So, whether you are a reader looking to watch (or listen to) poems, or reviews, and recommendations so that you can enjoy classics and discover new poets, or if you’re a poet looking for advice and tips for improving your work, pursuing publication, or increasing your fanbase, then this list will have something for you.
Considering the vast landscape that YouTube has become, poetry still seems to be a subject that is surprisingly under-represented. Aside from some standalone documentaries and occasional reviews by BookTubers, there seems to be relatively little poetry-related content on the platform – at least when compared to other forms of writing. Even the Poetry Foundation and other big organisations that you might expect to have a larger presence on the platform have surprisingly small channels with limited content (which is surprising given that they have capitalised on the podcast market quite well – and to be fair, they do help to produce other channels, such as Ours Poetica, which is mentioned below). Thankfully, this lack of regularly updated content is something that seems to be changing for the better.
(Of course, these channels can’t continue to grow and expand without your support, so please help them out by simply viewing their videos and subscribing to their channels. Without that support, the majority of channels end up dying off before they ever really had a chance to grow into something great. We don’t want that to happen to any of the channels that feature in this list.)
More poets are embracing the platform as a means of sharing their work all the time, which is excellent to see, but most seem to struggle to gain significant traction unless they have some other diverse content to compliment the poetry itself (or they already have a substantial fanbase who have followed them from another platform). This might change as the platform becomes more known as a place for readers to find new poets and support the ones that they already enjoy, but at the moment it is not really known for being a place that they can find new poets or learn more about poetry. Even if it doesn’t change, diversity of content is always a good thing, and the best channels for any subject always offer more than one type of video.
Poetry readers and writers will always enjoy reading or hearing new works by talented poets, but they may also want any number of other things associated with the art of poetry. Some want reviews and recommendations for books they should try, or biographies and documentaries of famous poets and their works. Some want tips and lessons on how to improve their own craft or better understand the techniques of poetry, while some want to know the practical steps to publish their work. Whatever you might be looking for, there will be at least some content available to fulfil your needs, and these are all the best places for you to start (in no particular order).
Hopefully I will be able to update this list on a semi-regular basis to provide information and recommendations on new channels as they grow and evolve.
Adam Gary’s channel has a wealth of information for beginners and poets who want to improve their writing skills, as well as reviews, tips for growing your online brand as a poet, and readings of his own poetry. He hosts live write-alongs on the channel, where poets come together and use prompts to write a collaborative piece, which is a great way to exercise your skills, practice some new techniques and get live feedback. His reviews are always well-rounded, honest and fair, giving a good insight into what you can expect from the book in every way, and giving viewers a good idea of its intended audience. The channel is also planning even more content, which should prove to be extremely interesting and varied, exploring poetry and poets in some new and exciting ways. This is definitely a channel that will be continuing to grow and has something that all fans of poetry can enjoy.
Youngblood Poetry is a channel that definitely deserves to get a lot more subscribers. The wide range of videos available is really awesome and promising, with interviews, reviews, readings of poems, videos to help you improve your writing and better understand poetry in general, plus a couple of other mini-documentaries. While each playlist/section is limited in the number of videos available so far, the channel shows a lot of promise and the varied nature of the content makes it one of the channels that I really want to see grow and expand over the coming year. The host, Kendryk Youngblood, is a talented poet in his own right, and his laid-back (but well-informed) conversational style makes it easy to watch and digest his videos.
Pen Clique is a channel that hosts some interesting videos and has a good range of content being released regularly. One of their more unique playlists is their Poetry Clash, which is a head to head poetry slam competition, where one poet goes against another in a similar way to a freestyle rap battle. Instead of insulting each other and critiquing each other as performers might do in a rap battle, the poets are instead given specific prompts and poetry styles that they will use for each round, so that their skills can be compared fairly. They also have clips from their podcast, where they have guest poets speak and even write poetry live on the show using prompts provided by the hosts, Kuya David and Daniel Hees. The channel also includes reviews, pointers and tips, plus readings from poets around the world, so there is something for everyone on this channel.
Poets.org is a channel produced by the Academy Of American Poets (whose website also has lots of information and resources that everyone will enjoy). The channel seems to keep its content varied and relevant to both poetry and readers by providing readings and discussions with modern poets, lectures and academic insights into modern poetry with teaching notes from teachers and professors, and more. The Books Noted Live playlist is a recent addition, and is a show where two guest poets read from their latest publications, then interview each other and answer questions from the audience. Hopefully this channel will continue to grow and add a few more new ideas into the mix to compliment their already good range of content.
Poet In The City is a channel which recently started to diversify its content with a new show called Fail Better, where poets read their work and then discuss their experiences as a creative artist and how they have learned and grown from their struggles. It’s an interesting concept which offers something a bit new, so hopefully they will continue to come up with new and exciting ideas like this one. They also have poetry films where a reading is made into a mini-movie (with related clips interspersed with the poet delivering a reading), and a few interviews. This is a channel which I really hope will continue to grow and expand, as it’s still fairly small, but produces its content in interesting ways.
Poets House is a channel based in New York, produced by an organisation of the same name, who have a physical library holding over 70,000 volumes of poetry and act as a national literacy center, hosting events and readings with poets and readers. They have an entire playlist dedicated to their Poetry Path project, which installed plaques of poetry throughout Battery Park City, a district of New York. To accompany the project, the channel has hosted some of the modern poets whose work is featured on the Poetry Path reading and discussing their work, plus some interesting extras like a workshop hosted by one of the poets (Charles Waters) as he makes his way between some of the plaques, and a talk about craft from poetry veteran Lawrence Joseph. The channel also has some other craft videos, with talks from poets from various backgrounds, as well as analysis of classic works, and Poets House Presents, which is a playlist of modern poets reading their poems, which is a great way to hear some great new works.
Although primarily aimed at children, Michael Rosen also has a channel that has videos of poetry readings (of poems by himself and various other poets, like Lewis Carroll, Edward Lear and Robert Louis Stevenson, among others), plus there are tips for writing poetry, short documentary clips where he discusses various aspects of poetry, and other writing tips for beginners. The playlist of his readings of classic poems is well worth watching, even if the poetry tips and children’s poems are too basic for you, or just not to your taste. (Although if you do find the instructional material helpful on here, you might also enjoy Simon Mole‘s channel, which has prompts, games and activities designed to help get children interested in poetry and get to grips with poetry techniques, which might be useful for beginners of any age.)
The Favourite Poem Project is the channel for the American Poet Laureate, Robert Pinsky, and hosts videos of himself and others reading their favourite works from throughout history. There are videos from the archives of Pinsky’s TV poetry readings on PBS Newshour, plus new audio recordings and videos. There are also a few clips from lectures and group discussions, covering a variety of topics within poetry and viewpoints of various poems. This is another channel that I hope will continue on its current course, and also hopefully diversify further to add a wider variety of content, but for now it’s a good starting point and is uploading regularly, so it’s one to keep an eye on.
Kaye Spivey is a BookTuber and poet, and her channel includes readings of her own poetry, writing advice & discussion, specific tips for anyone participating in Nanowrimo, plus personal vlogs etc. Her videos about writing are really helpful, and give insights into the practicalities of writing as well as the craft side of things. She also has book hauls, reviews, and recommendations, including the best poetry craft books.
Rachel Oates‘ channel is incredibly varied, covering subjects like atheism, science and of course, poetry. With in-depth reviews of poetry books, a great video introduction to reading poetry for beginners and much more, the channel is insightful, thought-provoking and has enough variety (even in just the poetry playlist) to be sure that almost everyone will find something helpful or interesting amongst her growing collection of videos. Having started her poetry reviews with some scathing (but not hateful or unfair) critiques of Gabbi Hannah’s debut book, ‘Adultolescence’, she has quickly built a solid reputation for her honest and intelligently argued approach to poetry book reviews and recommendations. She has also started her own poetry community, where poets can join worships to share and get critiques to help improve their craft.
Jen Campbell is an author, poet and BookTuber with a massive range of videos, covering book reviews and recommendations, representation of disfigurement in literature, fairy tales throughout history and a great playlist on poetry. With various tips to improve your writing or how to analyse a poem, recommendations of great poetry to check out for yourself, and a few of her own poems thrown in for good measure, there is definitely something here for everyone to enjoy, and is another channel where you will probably find more than just the poetry content interesting.
Lastly, there is Stripped Cover Lit, hosted by Adrian Fort, which is a channel covering all aspects of reading and literature, and offers reviews, and readings of various books along with in-depth analysis. There are playlists specifically for Poetry Reviews (both classic and more modern books), Readings of poems, discussions about famous poems, plus more. I particularly recommend the 9 part playlist taking a detailed look at the nonfiction book, ‘What Is Poetry?’ by John Hall Wheelock, which is really interesting.
Thank you for reading. If you know of any other channels or playlists that deserve to be a part of this list, please let me know on social media so that I can check it out and add it. Thanks again.