I spent the last few weeks in a YouTube rabbit-hole, trying to find all the best channels and playlists dedicated to poetry. After covering the most varied channels that appeal to BOTH readers and poets in my first article, then finding all the best lists and channels specifically for poetry readers, this last part is just for the poets. So if you’re looking for advice and tips for improving your work, pursuing publication, or increasing your fanbase, then this list will have something for you.
Don’t forget to check out the first list I mentioned too, as a lot of the channels with varied content tend to have some awesome tips to help you grow as a poet.
(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.)
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.
Dimitri Reyes is a poet, teacher and writing mentor with a fantastic channel for anyone who wants to learn tips about the craft of writing poetry. Although mainly aimed at beginner writers and those who want to improve their writing, there are plenty of tips and recommendations for writers of all skill levels and lovers of poetry in general. Reyes hosts workshops, makes videos of tips and instructions for writing and editing your work, gives ideas and prompts, and has even hosted some live streams to help other poets and give feedback and encouragement. He has recently mentioned plans for some more diverse content to come on the channel in the next few months, so there will be plenty of great material to keep you going with your writing.
Clare’s Poetry Circle is a brand new channel hosted by Clare Pollard, a poet, author and teacher from the UK, who has started to upload a course for beginners who want to learn about poetry and improve their writing. The videos are packed with information and great examples, along with exercises to try for yourself, and are a great place to start learning how to write your own poetry. Hopefully this will be a channel that continues to grow and add new material over the coming year.
National Poetry Day is another UK-based channel which has been expanding their library of videos over the last few months and have been creating some really interesting content. The main playlist that is currently being built is aimed at helping teachers to improve their poetry classes and get their students more invested and involved (the Poetry Possibilities Workshop Series). These include some exercises and prompts that anyone looking to improve their own writing might find quite helpful. There are also some videos of poets reading their poems. The channel will hopefully continue to expand and grow, and hopefully diversify their content a bit more with some different types of videos.
Unfortunately most of the following channels have stopped uploading new material, but the information they provide in their videos is still useful and will be of help to anyone who wants to learn more about the technical details and skills of poetry. Thankfully some of the channels already listed in the first installment of these articles – The Best YouTube Channels & Playlists – Part 1 – For Readers AND Poets – are still offering new insights and lessons on the craft of writing on a regular basis, so be sure to check those out if you’ve skipped forward to this section.
Poetry Defined is a playlist on the channel ‘Advocate Of Wordz’, and gives great overviews of various poetry styles, techniques and tools, as well as speaking about poetry in general and recommending some awesome resources for poets and readers. The animations are simple but effective, and all of the videos are digestible but highly informative. Whether you are a beginner who wants to understand poetry a little better or someone with more knowledge and experience who wants to brush up on the basics, then this playlist is definitely worth your time.
Gresham College is an institution providing free public lectures on a wide variety of academic subjects, including religion, politics, medical science and the study of literature. Their playlists on writing and literature are all fairly short, but include some great learning resources for people who want to learn more about the history and evolution of poetry and literature. These are by no means exclusively about poetry, so there will likely be a lot of material in each playlist that you might want to dismiss, but might appeal to some people for other reasons.
More videos from Gresham College on poetry can also be found in the later half of the following playlist, although the first half deals with the history of various body parts… which may or may not be of interest to you. This playlist mainly looks at the Romantics and nature imagery in poetry, including Byron, Keats and Wordsworth. – Rhetoric 2018-20
Ralph Skip Stevens’ poetry channel is full of lectures about various aspects of poetry, including how to read poetry (for academic study purposes), symbolism, characteristics of various styles and more. While this is definitely aimed specifically at people who are studying poetry, there are tips and tricks for writers and insights for avid readers which are definitely useful outside of a classroom setting. The channel has not had any recent updates, but the videos that were uploaded a couple of years ago are still relevant and useful if you want an in-depth approach.
Another channel which is geared more towards the academics of poetry (and mythology) is by Andrew Neuendorf, who presents a series of lectures studying the history of literature. Although not updated for several years, the lectures are incredibly informative and still as relevant now as when they were uploaded.
- Go Straight To The British Literature Playlist:
- Go Straight To The World Literature Playlist:
- Or Visit The Channel:
Louis Hoffman‘s channel is actually more about psychology than poetry, but there are several videos in his library relating to poetry and how it can help people in times of severe stress, anxiety and grief, as well as how poetry can be integrated into therapy. It’s a very interesting way to look at poetry’s value beyond entertainment and emotive art. Having incorporated poetry into his own therapy sessions in various ways, he is able to look at a range of psychological benefits to both reading and writing poetry.
Publishing Your Own Poetry:
So far, there is really only one place to go specifically for this information. There are loads of other channels where people speak generally about self-publishing, but they are usually referring to novels and non-fiction, which is helpful, but it can be more helpful to hear the information and options that are specific to poetry – including some issues that simply don’t apply to other kinds of books. Hopefully I’ll be able to add more channels to this section in future. Some of the channels and playlists above do have some tips regarding publishing, but they tend to be single videos giving an overview of the process, rather than taking a deep dive into the various stages, decisions, and issues that surround publishing poetry.
The Alliance Of Independent Authors (ALLi) has a poetry self-publishing playlist (also recorded as a podcast), which deals with various aspects of publishing your own collections, from the various options that are available, the process of editing a collection, marketing, and much more excellent advice. You can either stick with this playlist on its own, or even delve deeper into the rest of the channel for a whole range of other tips, recommendations, information and resources for writers and authors which don’t necessarily relate to poetry directly, but can give some great motivation or insight which you can use in whatever medium you choose to write. Hosted by Orna Ross, who is not only an accomplished self-published poet in her own right, but also one of the founders of ALLi, and has experience as an editor, mentor and agent, the playlist also involves a range of guests with their own particular areas of expertise to get some of the best and up-to-date advice possible. This is an ongoing playlist with regular new releases, so will only become a more valuable resource as more videos are added.
- Go Straight To The Poetry Self-Publishing Playlist:
- Or Visit The Channel:
YouTube Poetry with Allie Esiri is a channel which has only recently launched, and it is unclear at this point if it is intended as a long term project or just as a short term stopgap to substitute for the various 2020 poetry festivals (which, like all live events in 2020, were cancelled due to the coronavirus epidemic). Hopefully, with the high production quality and special guest actors reading classic poetry, this is a channel that will continue to add new material and expand. Even if not, the videos that have been added this year are really great, but with the host’s experience as an author of several excellent poetry anthologies and producing films and live events, the channel could prove to be a premier destination for poetry content if she continues to expand.
Intelligence Squared is a channel which covers a variety of topics and provides discussions, insights and lectures. While the majority of the videos are not relevant here, there are a few really great videos which will be really interesting to poets and poetry lovers.
- The Power Of Poetry – With Helena Bonham Carter, Jason Isaacs,
- Words That Changed The World – With Jeremy Irons & Carey Mulligan
- Shakespeare Vs Milton: The Kings Of English Literature
Poetry International is a Netherlands-based organisation who organise the Poetry International Festival each year in Rotterdam. I considered adding the channel to the main part of this list, but because a large percentage of the poetry and talks are in Dutch, I thought it might be off-putting to people who don’t want to wade through the material to find the English entries. That being said, there are quite a few videos on there that a lot of poets and poetry readers will definitely enjoy. One of the most interesting and informative videos on the channel is John Kinsella’s talk from the 2017 festival, where he speaks about ambiguity in poetry and reads some of his own work:
And lastly, as you would probably expect, there are quite a few TED talks on the platform which center around poetry in various ways. Whether you’re looking for some interesting perspectives, information and analysis on poetry, (and of course some readings thrown in for good measure) then these are great videos to check out. As many as I’ve included below, there are still lots more available that you will be able to discover for yourself, but these are a great selection to get you started.
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.