10 Black Poets Whose Words Will Captivate You

10 Black Poets Whose Words Will Captivate You

Black poetry is something that should be celebrated every day. Black poets have contributed, and continue to contribute, to the richness of poetry.

There's just something about the way that Black poets tell stories about love, loss, joy, grief, beauty, and racism, among other things. They use captivating words to express themselves and give hope to their audience. 

Here’s a list of Black poets that you should check out. 

1. Warsan Shire

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Warsan Shire is a Black poet and activist who grew up in London. Her poems have appeared in journals, magazines, anthologies, and in Beyoncé’s visual album Lemonade. Shire's poetry has gotten many people through some traumatic times, especially those times of exile and suffering. 

2.  Kondwani Fidel

Kondwani Fidel is a Black poet from Baltimore, MD. With his poetry, he confronts education reform, civil rights, and growing up in an underserved community. Poetry is his first love, but he is also interested in filmmaking, apparel, and fiction writing

3. Nayyirah Waheed

Nayyirah Waheed's work literally speaks for itself. And it speaks volumes! She writes in a way that conveys all the emotions she wants the poem to hold. Waheed's poetry stirs up emotions in very few words.

4. Alysia Nicole Harris

Alysia Nicole Harris is a Black poet, spoken word artist, teacher, and scholar who holds an MFA in poetry. According to Alysia, her poems come from a love for the world and from a desire to see it transformed. She is interested in talking about pain, beauty, guilt, faith, failure, and joy with the wish that people may experience more of it. 

5. Hanif Abdurraqib

Hanif Abdurraqib is a Black poet, essayist, and cultural critic from Columbus, Ohio. He enjoys writing about music, among other things. 

6. Alexandra Elle

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I’ve been making a lot of lists lately. Most of which consist of me preparing for 30, reevaluating my 20s, and making room in my life for the next chapter. Giving myself permission to be rooted in abundance is something that’s been coming to the surface a lot in my writing practice. Unpacking all the feelings around “what’s next” is teaching me a lot. I’m learning that: 1. I am fully capable of holding space for myself as I do others. 2. I am whole in my body, even after loss and heartbreak and fear. 3. Self-love is setting the foundation for my growth as a wife, mother, writer, and woman. 4. Falling for someone who deserved to catch me shifted my narrative around romance and intimacy. 5. Forgive them, all of them, not for their good but for my own. 6. I can find joy after sifting through all of the junk. My messes and shortcomings and failures have made me more resilient. 7. I am not sorry for my past. It was practice. . . As you walk into the next phases of your life, whatever that looks like, what are you learning? What are taking with you? What are you leaving behind?

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Alexandra Elle is an author, wellness consultant, creative freelancer, and podcaster. Her passions include poetry, storytelling, and narrative writing. Alexandra's work explores self-love, self-celebration, and healing. She also teaches workshops centered around writing and self-care.

7. Safia Elhillo

Safia Elhillo is a Sudanese (by way of Washington, DC) poet and author with an MFA in poetry. Some consider her to be a lyrical poet and her words are known to be very captivating.

8. Mahogany L. Browne

Mahogany L. Browne is a spoken word poet, author, activist, and educator who is unapologetic in her work. Her personal experience with addiction, racism, sexism, and oppression has inspired her brand of shameless, authentic work. Mahogany's spoken word performances create opportunities for women and girls to feel empowered and heard through poetry.  

9. Danez Smith

Danez Smith is a Black poet, writer and performer from St. Paul, MN. He is also a spoken word artist whose work addresses race, sexuality, and personal and social identity.

10. Morgan Parker

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Scenes from Frederick Douglass Day

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Morgan Parker is a Black author and editor with an MFA in poetry. Her poetry and essays have been published and anthologized in numerous publications. Her publications include poetry collections such as There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé and Other People’s Comfort Keeps Me Up At Night. 



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