54 Black Poets

54 Black Poets You Should Know

Past, Current & Future

Poems are written for many different reasons. I always say poetry is two things: divine inspiration, and a desperate attempt to explain the complex world we live in. Black poetry has always been a method to express the emotions that society says to keep silent, ignore, and most often invalidate. For this reason, it was necessary to distinguish black poetry from conventional American poetry. It was a way for those voices to be heard. It was not a means of separation, but rather identification. It allows others to find these particular poets! 

If the poet has written the poem, it is only right that there is someone there to connect with it. Consider the poetic words of the poet, take a moment to feel what it's like to have someone express on paper or vocally exactly what your experience is. Poetry is the voice that heals. It is not the thief in the night but rather a deep restful sleep. Poetry is a comforter! Black poetry is a story of unique experience, walk of faith, and the spiritual person in the temporary body of black skin. Not as if black skin is bad, but the experience is just a different and unique one. 

I have listed 54 black poets that you should know. If you feel I have left someone out please let me know in the comment section. It is a human oversight and I would be honored to add to the list. 


Well Known Poets

  1. Langston Hughes
  2. James Baldwin
  3. Nikki Giovanni
  4. Alice Walker
  5. Audre Lorde
  6. Maya Angelou
  7. Gil Scott-Heron
  8. Sister Souljah
  9. Gwendolyn Brooks
  10. Sonia Sanchez
  11. Tracy K. Smith
  12. Yusef Komunyakaa
  13. Robert Hayden
  14. Amiri Baraka
  15. Rita Dove
  16. Paul Laurence Dunbar
  17. James A. Emanuel
  18. Yusef Komunyakaa
  19. Phillis Wheatley
  20. Benjamin Banneker
  21. James Monroe Whitfield
  22. George Moses Horton
  23. Last Poets -  Abiodun Oyewole, Baba Donn Babatunde, and Umar Bin Hassan
  24. Cornelius Lady
  25. James Weldon John
  26. Elizabeth Alexander
  27. Dudley Randal
  28. Haki Madhubuti
  29. Danez Smith
  30. Arna Bontemps
  31. June jordan
  32. Margert Walker
  33. Micheal S. Harper
  34. Nikky Finney
  35. Frances Harper
  36. Melvin B. Tolson
  37. Evie Shockley
  38. Quincy Thorpe
  39. Jessie Redmon Fauset
  40. Jill Scott
  41. Lauryn Hill
  42. Tupac Shakur


12 Emerging African American Black Poets You Should Know

  1. fort.claire on instagram
  2. conscious_blvckroseWarsan Shire
  3. Prince Ea - Richard Williams
  4. Terry Moore - aka T Mo
  5. Nayyirah Waheed
  6. Yrsa Daley-Ward
  7. Key Ballah
  8. Ladan Osmanm
  9. Black Poets of Tumblr
  10. Monseeka on instagram
  11. rhosegarden on instagram
  12. Leah Islar on instagram