Who Is Your Inner Poet? (International Edition)

The Columbus State Library is showcasing international poets for National Poetry Month 2016. Take our quiz and discover your inner poet!

Columbus State Library
On Apr 6, 2016

Your inner poet is Yannis Ritsos.

Your inner poet is Yannis Ritsos.

Ritsos (Greece) wrote poems often political in nature, occasionally banned or even burned, due to his association with the Greek Communist Party. Exiled for his beliefs, Ritsos captured loneliness in his poetry and brought inanimate objects to life: “Every night, out of the dry well,/the statues emerge cautiously and climb the trees.” Like Ritsos, you desire to be heroic and fight for your beliefs.

Your inner poet is Anna Akhmatova.

Your inner poet is Anna Akhmatova.

Akhmatova (Russia) was a leader of Acmeism, a movement in poetry that reacted against the Symbolist poetry that was all the rage in Russia prior to WWII by emphasizing clear, concise, and well-crafted verse: “At evening a neighbor talks with a girl / Across the fence, and only the bees can hear / This most tender murmuring of all.” After the publication of her epic long poem Requiem, dedicated to the victims who suffered under Stalin’s rule, Akhmatova was expelled from the Writer’s Union by the Central Committee, which labeled her “half nun, half harlot.” Like Akhmatova, you march to the beat of your own drum, even if it means suffering the consequences from the powers that be.

Your inner poet is Yona Wallach.

Your inner poet is Yona Wallach.

Wallach (Israel) broke convention in her bold poetry. She was the quintessential bohemian whose personality was as provocative as her poetry: “Hebrew peeks at you through the keyhole/the language sees you naked.” Like Wallach, you’re a free spirit who's a little bit rock and roll.

Your inner poet is Tomas Tranströmer.

Your inner poet is Tomas Tranströmer.

A Noble Prize-winning poet, Tranströmer (Sweden) explored humans’ connection to the cosmos and the mysteries surrounding existence: “It is still beautiful to hear the heart beat/but often the shadow seems more real than the body.” Reading his poetry is like gazing up at the stars. Perhaps, like Tranströmer, you will have a beetle named after you.

Your inner poet is Amrita Pritam.

Your inner poet is Amrita Pritam.

Pritam (India) authored more than 100 books in both Punjabi and Hindi, and she is one of the best known Indian writers of the 20th Century. The partition of British India in 1947 that resulted in tens of thousands of women being raped, tortured, or killed, left Pritam with deep and lasting emotional scars, which she addressed in her epic poem Ajj aakhaan Waris Shah nu: “Once, a daughter of Punjab cried and you wrote an entire saga, / Today, a million daughters cry out to you.” Like Pritam, you possess an inner strength that will help you deal with anything life has to throw at you.

Your inner poet is Bei Dao.

Your inner poet is Bei Dao.

Bei Dao (China), whose pen name means “North Island,” was part of the Misty Poets, who embraced “misty,” obscure images and symbolism in their poetry. His poetry inspired protesters who marched for democracy in Tiananmen Square: “Let me tell you, world,/I—do—not—believe!/
If a thousand challengers lie beneath your feet/Count me as number one thousand and one.” Like Bei Dao, you possess an air of mystery.

Your inner poet is Ben Okri.

Your inner poet is Ben Okri.

Okri (Nigeria), both an award-winning poet and novelist, now lives and writes in London, though he still honors his Urhobo and Igbo. Okri’s poems tap into the tenderness and fragility of our lives: “O that abstract garden of being / Tells me to be brave, and clear, / In the fire of living, / And in the journey through the years.” Like Okri, you embrace all the twists and turns—and detours—that make up the journey that is life.

Your inner poet is Gabriela Mistral.

Your inner poet is Gabriela Mistral.

Gabriela Mistral (Chile),the pseudonym for Lucila Godnoy Alcayaga, was the first Latin American to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. The primary theme Mistral addressed in her writing was love—familial love, romantic love, love of nature, and spiritual love: “The woodsman forgot the trees. The night / Will come. I will be with them. / In my heart I will receive their gentle / Sap. They will be like fire to me.” Like Mistral, you are intimately in touch with your emotions and aren’t afraid to let the world now exactly how you feel.