22 Revolutionary Poems by Black Poets

"The poetry of a people comes from the deep recesses of the unconscious, the irrational and the collective body of our ancestral memories." —Margaret Walker

The Black literary tradition is rich and exhaustive, and 20 poems could never hope to scratch its surface. But each one of these poems also contains a world within itself—a refracted look at one's wounds or visions of new ones or, often, both bound up together in the ways only American poetry can achieve.

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It's official: The new must-have accessory to supplement your hot girl summer is a good book.

Celebrities are starting book clubs. Famous YouTubers are encouraging Gen Z to pick up classic novels. Kendall Jenner has been heralded as the "patron saint of alternative literature." Maybe it's the copious amounts of alone time we've spent over the past year — or maybe we're just getting old — but, is reading cool again?

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Culture Feature

Remembering Lawrence Ferlinghetti, the Grandfather of the Beats

"Every great poem fulfills a longing and puts life back together."

Lawrence Ferlinghetti


Poetry, often thought of as a stuffy and anachronistic form by modern youth, has historically been inextricably linked to revolution.

And rarely has a generation of poets been more subversive than the beat generation, the anti-establishment artists and activists who first began to emerge in the 1950s. In the center of the movement, particularly in San Francisco's North Beach, was Lawrence Ferlinghetti and his City Lights bookstore.

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Culture Feature

Amanda Gorman and 8 Other Young Black Poets To Support

Amanda Gorman is giving poetry a wider platform and it's about time.

The girl! The jacket! The star of the show!

via NFL

When Amanda Gorman performed her poem "The Hill We Climb" at the 2021 Inauguration, both she and the poem went viral.

Gorman, the first National Youth Poet Laureate and the youngest ever Inaugural poet, immediately became a household name for managing to do the impossible: give a hopeful and earnest message of change at a tense political event while also giving poetry a wider stage.

Gorman's two unreleased books, the lyrical children's picture book "Change Sings: A Children's Anthem" and her debut collection "The Hill We Climb and Other Poems," are already highly anticipated and a special edition of "The Hill We Climb" is set to be released this Spring with a foreword from Oprah.

Combined with a Time magazine cover, an interview with Michelle Obama, a contract with IMG Models, and her recent performance at the Super Bowl (where she was the first poet to ever read at the event), Gorman is a verifiable celebrity poet.

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Six Poems By Louise Glück, Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature

The poet received the Nobel Prize in Literature this week.

United States President Barack Obama presents the 2015 National Humanities Medal to Louise Glück

By: Shutterstock

United States President Barack Obama presents the 2015 National Humanities Medal to Louise Glück


For two years, Louise Glück wrote nothing except a single sentence: "At the end of my suffering / there was a door."

Then, Glück wrote her poetry book "The Wild Iris" in mere weeks.

That story—of death that becomes rebirth, of unfathomable pain that generates a sense of the eternal—is one of the many defining themes of Glück's poems. Her poetry is exceptional because it explores the depths of human emotion and suffering in a way that most of us feel, but rarely see reflected back at us in its true forms. There are no walls in Glück's poetry, no holographs: you're seeing the darkness of pure truth.

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TV News

Spoken Word Poet Brandon Leake Just Won "America's Got Talent"—Does America Love Poetry?

Brandon Leake is a powerful ambassador for an art form that has never had such a mainstream platform

Screenshot of Brandon Leake / America's Got TalentAmerica's Got Talent / YouTube.com

When you think of poetry, what comes to mind?

Maybe it's Robert Frost making trivial choices sound important, or Emily Dickinson giving voice to alienation, or Edgar Allan Poe writing his creepy love to his so-much-younger cousin/wife.

Generally speaking—to the extent we think about poetry at all—Americans tend to think of it as something a handful of dead people did in order to make our high school English classes slightly more dull and confusing. But there is another strain of poetry that doesn't feel so buried in the past–a form that was pioneered by people who are still alive and that's still thriving.

Golden Buzzer: Brandon Leake Makes AGT History With Powerful Poetry - America's Got Talent 2020www.youtube.com

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