African American Poets

Provided by the staff at the West University Branch Library.

Maya Angelou. Still I Rise
Memoirist, poet, and actress Angelou is a Professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University.
Gwendolyn Brooks. Selected Poems
In 1950, Brooks became the first African American poet to win the Pulitzer Prize.
 
Lucille Clifton. Blessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems, 1988 - 2000
Writing for both children and adults, Clifton creates poems in celebration of life.
 
 
Countee Cullen. My Soul's High Song: the Collected Writings of Countee Cullen, Voice of the Harlem Renaissance
Harvard-educated Cullen wrote in a more formalized style than his Harlem Renaissance peers.
Rita Dove. On the Bus with Rosa Parks
In 1993, Rita Dove became the youngest Poet Laureate of the United States.
 
Paul Dunbar. The Complete Poems of Paul Dunbar
Both of Dunbar's parents were former slaves. He worked as an elevator operator, and published his first book of poetry in 1893. Many consider his work to be precursory to the Harlem Renaissance.
Nikki Giovanni. Quilting the Black-eyed Pea: Poems and Not Quite Poems
A professor of writing and literature at Virginia Tech, Giovanni has written many volumes of poetry, picture books for children, and essay collections.
Langston Hughes. The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes
Often referred to as the poet laureate of Harlem, Langston Hughes was the most prolific poet of the Harlem Renaissance. He used the rhythms of jazz, blues and street language in his poems.
James Weldon Johnson. God's Trombones: Seven Negro Sermons in Verse
A lawyer and poet, Johnson helped found the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
Ntozake Shange. For colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf: a choreopoem
Shange's choreopoem play, composed of twenty poems for seven actors, had a long run on Broadway, and continues to be a national favorite.
Alice Walker. Her Blue Body Everything We Know: Earthling Poems 1965 - 1990
Walker won the Pulitzer Prize for her novel, The Color Purple. Her poetry and fiction explore universal concerns of women.