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Ten Poets to Read Now

Updated: Jun 2

Black writers are speaking to us through poetry with stunning and necessary works. Never has it been more important to read them and listen to them and teach them.



I will continue to highlight works from black poets in this space.


Jericho Brown, recent Pulitzer-winner for "The Tradition"


Aaron Coleman, "Threat Come Close"


Camille T. Dungy, "Black Nature," "Trophic Cascade," "Guidebook to Relative Strangers, "Smith Blue"


Ross Gay, "Catalogue of Unabashed Gratitude," "Bringing the Shoverl Down"


Aracelis Girmay, "The Black Maria," "Kingdom Animalia," "Teeth"


Robin Coste Lewis, "Voyage of the Sable Venus"


Morgan Parker, "Magical Negro," "There are More Beautiful Things than Beyonce," "Who Put This Song on?"


Claudia Rankine, "Citizen: An American Lyric," "Don't Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric"


Danez Smith, "Homie," "Don't Call Us Dead," "[insert] boy"


Tracy K. Smith, listen to her curated show "The Slowdown" and read "Wade in the Water," "Ordinary Light," "Life on Mars," "Duende"

alternate names for black boys" by Danez Smith

1.   smoke above the burning bush 2.   archnemesis of summer night 3.   first son of soil 4.   coal awaiting spark & wind 5.   guilty until proven dead 6.   oil heavy starlight 7.   monster until proven ghost 8.   gone 9.   phoenix who forgets to un-ash 10. going, going, gone 11. gods of shovels & black veils 12. what once passed for kindling 13. fireworks at dawn 14. brilliant, shadow hued coral 15. (I thought to leave this blank        but who am I to name us nothing?) 16. prayer who learned to bite & sprint 17. a mother’s joy & clutched breath



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