Celebrating African American Poetry and Poets
Posted on January 29, 2019
African Americans have profoundly influenced American poetry, from Phillis Wheatley to Paul Lawrence Dunbar, through the poets of the Harlem Renaissance, and into this twenty-first century explosion of brilliant new poets.
Celebrate the Beauty and Power of African American Poetry
Recent African-American Poetry
Black Magic Girl : A Poem by Mahogany L. Browne
Celebrates the strength and magic found in black girls, challenging the conditioning of society by offering a tribute to black women and girls everywhere.
The End of Chiraq : A Literary Mixtape edited by Javon Johnson and Kevin Coval
Written in true mixtape fashion, a collection of poems, rap lyrics, short stories, essays, interviews and artwork brings to life Chicago, the city that came to be known as “Chiraq” (“Chicago” + “Iraq”), and the people who live in its vibrant and occasionally violent neighborhoods.
Monument : Poems New and Selected by Natasha Trethewey
The author, a two-term U.S. poet laureate, uses verse to give witness to unsung icons such as working class African American women.
Taking the Arrow Out of the Heart : Poems by Alice Walker
Alice Walker, author of the National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning “The Color Purple” crafts a bilingual collection that is both playfully imaginative and intensely moving.
Contemporary and Classic African-American Poetry
African American Poetry for Children
Seeing Into Tomorrow Haiku by Richard Wright
From watching a sunset to finding a beetle, Richard Wright’s haiku puts everyday moments into focus. Paired with the photo-collage artwork of Nina Crews, Seeing into Tomorrow celebrates the lives of contemporary African American boys.
A Song for Gwendolyn Brooks by Alice Faye Duncan
A collection of poems profiles the Chicago author who gave voice to the urban African American experience in the twentieth century.
The Great Migration : journey to the North by Eloise Greenfield
Describes the period of the 20th century when many African Americans left the South to make better lives for themselves in the northern states.
More Notable Poetry Selections for Children to Explore
Looking for online sources?
Black History Month – Academy of American Poets
To celebrate Black History Month in February—and the rich tradition of African American poetry all year long—browse essays on literary milestones and movements, find important books on black history and poetics, look for lesson plans for Black History Month, read archival letters from classic African American poets, and search poems about the African American experience by both classic and contemporary poets.
Celebrating Black History Month – Poetry Foundation
Poems, articles, and podcasts that explore African American history and culture.
University of Pittsburg Center for African American Poets and Poetics
The mission of the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics (CAAPP) at the University of Pittsburgh is to highlight, promote, and share the poetry and poetic work of African American and African diasporic writers.
Related Toledo Library Blog Posts
6 Ways to Celebrate National Poetry Month
Books to Read During Black History Month and Beyond
Looking for upcoming poetry programs?
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