Modern Poetry for Black History Month

Reading Time: 4 minutes

As we observe Black History Month, it’s crucial to acknowledge and appreciate the role of poetry in black culture.

As we observe Black History Month, it’s crucial to acknowledge and appreciate the role of modern poetry in Black culture. Poetry has long been a formidable tool for self-expression, resistance, and social transformation. The poetry created by Black authors showcases the richness and diversity of this art form and continues to shape and define Black culture. Let us come together to celebrate the influential contributions of these poets to the literary world and their impact on our world today.

On the Black Hand Side: Poems

by Gerald L Coleman

isbn: 9781087868592,template: listOn the Black Hand Side is a collection of poems about black life, love, and justice. His work is a journey through his own experiences, in which-in the best traditions of poetry-he opens his literary veins and spills his own life, like incandescent blood, on the page. Coleman believes that poetry should be accessible and honest. On the Black Hand Side is a triumph in every sense. Join him as he takes you on a journey to the Black Hand Side.



The Essence of My Soul

by Clianda Florence

isbn: 9798986426907,template: listA Sweet Note of Love:

The essence of my soul is covered within your hands

to feel your embrace, your kiss

My soul cries out to you, for you

it happened,

my vision of love has shifted

my mind is twisted wrapped up within you.


Black Like That: Poems from a Conduit

by Ray Jane – Oladimeji Alaka

isbn: 9781737936404,template: listBlack Like That is a collection of poems about my experience as a Black woman in America. It reviews what I have learned from living in this skin. On this land, and all the ancestry that has followed me to keep me covered. It is an invitation to my folk to find themselves in these stories. And for those who cannot ascribe to these identities, I invite you to consider another perspective. Black Like That in all of its iterations. Is an offering from all the voices in mine that had no space to speak.




Song of My Softening

by Omotara James

isbn: 9781948579247,template: listThe raw poems inside Song of My Softening studies the ever-changing relationship with oneself, while also investigating the relationship that the world and nation has with Black queerness. Poems open wide the questioning of how we express both love and pain, and how we view our bodies in society, offering themselves wholly, with sharpness and compassion.







by Jubi Arriola-Headley

isbn: 9780892555789,template: listBound is a collection of poems that seeks to carve a space for Blackness and queerness in the world that isn’t defined by trauma or lack, where Black and queer folks can seriously play, can create and conjure the worlds they want to live and love in. Beginning with a takedown of the God concept and moving through an incitement to revolution, Bound, along the way, plays with conventional notions of race, sex, sexuality, gender and pleasure, tearing down what we didn’t build to make room for what’s coming.




Ten Bridges I’ve Burnt: A Memoir in Verse

by Brontez Purnell

isbn: 9780374612696,template: listIn Ten Bridges I’ve Burnt, Brontez Purnell–the bard of the underloved and overlooked–turns his gaze inward. A storyteller with a musical eye for the absurdity of his own existence, he is peerless in his ability to find the levity within the stormiest of crises. Here, in his first collection of genre-defying verse, Purnell reflects on his peripatetic life, whose ups and downs have nothing on the turmoil within. “The most high-risk homosexual behavior I engage in,” Purnell writes, “is simply existing.”

The thirty-eight autobiographical pieces pulsing in Ten Bridges I’ve Burnt find Purnell at his no-holds-barred best. He remembers a vicious brawl he participated in at a poetry conference and reckons with packaging his trauma for TV writers’ rooms; wrestles with the curses, and gifts, passed down from generations of family members; and chronicles, with breathless verve, a list of hell-raising misadventures and sexcapades. Through it all, he muses on everything from love and loneliness to capitalism and Blackness to jogging and the ethics of art, always with unpredictable clarity and movement.

This Is the Honey: An Anthology of Contemporary Black Poets

by Kwame Alexander

isbn: 9780316417525,template: listA breathtaking poetry collection on hope, heart, and heritage from the most prominent and promising Black poets and writers of our time, edited by #1 New York Times bestselling author Kwame Alexander.

In this comprehensive and vibrant poetry anthology, bestselling author and poet Kwame Alexander curates a collection of contemporary anthems at turns tender and piercing and deeply inspiring throughout. Featuring work from well-loved poets such as Rita Dove, Jericho Brown, Warsan Shire, Ross Gay, Tracy K. Smith, Terrance Hayes, Morgan Parker, and Nikki Giovanni, This Is the Honey is a rich and abundant offering of language from the poets giving voice to generations of resilient joy, “each incantation,” as Mahogany L. Browne puts it in her titular poem, is “a jubilee of a people dreaming wildly.”

Thick with Trouble

by Amber McBride

isbn: 9780143137474,template: listFrom National Book Award finalist Amber McBride, a mystical, transcendent poetry collection about Black womanhood in the American South

In Thick with Trouble, award-winning poet Amber McBride interrogates if being “trouble”–difficult, unruly, fearsome, defiant–is ultimately a weakness or an incomparable source of strength. Steeped in the Hoodoo spiritual tradition and organized via reimagined tarot cards, this collection becomes a chorus of unapologetic women who laugh, cry, mesmerize, and bring outsiders to their knees. Summoning the supernatural to examine death, rebirth, and life outside the male gaze, Amber McBride has crafted a haunting, spellbinding, and strikingly original collection of poems that reckon with the force and complexity of Black womanhood.

School of Instructions: A Poem

by Ishion Hutchinson

isbn: 9780374610265,template: listDeep-dyed in language both sensuous and biblical, Ishion Hutchinson’s School of Instructions memorializes the experience of West Indian soldiers volunteering in British regiments in the Middle East during World War I. The poem narrates the psychic and physical terrors of these young Black fighters in as they struggle against the colonial power they served; their story overlaps with that of Godspeed, a schoolboy living in rural Jamaica of the 1990s.

This visionary collision, in which the horizontal, documentary shape of the narrative is interrupted by sudden lyric effusions, unsettles both time and event, mapping great moments of heroism onto the trials of everyday existence It reshapes grand gestures of heroism in a music of supple, vigilant intensity.

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