10 Poems to Read for Black History Month

I would like to think that I don’t stop being a student once I graduate. As a student in the Faculty of Arts, sometimes I feel like I can read a good novel (or listen, thank you, Audible!) all night! Have you ever felt like a great poem you read was like a window into someone’s life? A life you couldn’t even fathom for yourself? Poems are a great tool to think about what it’s like to be a person of a different race, gender or cultural background. Avid readers will enjoy reading these kinds of poems! To celebrate the contributions of Black writers across the world, feel free to comment on this article, sharing which of the writers or poems listed below you enjoyed the most!

1. Safia Elhillo, An Inheritance

Did our mothers invent loneliness or did it make them our mothers were we fathered by silence or just looking to explain this quiet is it wasteful to pray for our brothers in a language they never learned”

2. Safiya Sinclair, Center of the World

“I have shorn your golden fleece, worn vast spools of white lace, glittering jacquard,

gilded fig leaves, jeweled dust on my skin.”

3. Aracelis Girmay, Elegy

What to do with this knowledge that our living is not guaranteed?”

4. Terrance Hayes, How to Draw a Perfect Circle

“Everything the eye sees enters a circle,

The world is connected to a circle: breath spools from the nostrils

And any love to be open becomes an O.”

5. Derek Walcott, The Season of Phantasmal Peace

“Then all the nations of birds lifted together

the huge net of the shadows of this earth

in multitudinous dialects, twittering tongues,

stitching and crossing it.”

6. Namwali Serpell, The Sack

“There’s a sack. A Sack? A sack. Hmm. A sack. Big? Yes. Grey. Like old kwacha. Marks on the outside. No. Shadows. That’s how I know it is moving.”

7. Warsan Shire, Home

“No one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark you only run for the border when you see the whole city running as well.”

8. Gwendolyn Brooks, We Real Cool

“We jazz June.”

9. Robert Hayden, Middle Passage

“Sails flashing to the wind like weapons, 

sharks following the moans the fever and the dying;   

horror the corposant and compass rose.”

10. George Elliot Clarke, Everything is Free

“Wipe away tears,

Set free your fears:

Everything is free.”


Source: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10