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By African American Poets

This April marks the 25th year of National Poetry Month. To help celebrate, we’ve put together a list of highly notable African American Poets who bring power, charm, and wit to the world of poetry. 

Phillis Wheatley, 1753-1784

Highlighted poem:His Excellency General Washington

Book to check out: Phillis Sings Out Freedom: The Story of George Washington and Phillis Wheatley by Ann Malaspina; illustrated by Susan Keeter

Jamaal May, 1982 to present

Highlighted poem: There Are Birds Here

Book to check out: Hum by Jamaal May

Gwendolyn Brooks1917–2000

Highlighted Poem: A Light and Diplomatic Bird

Book to check out: Exquisite: The Poetry and Life of Gwendolyn Brooks by Suzanne Slade; illustrated by Cozbi A. Cabrera

George Moses Horton1798–1883

Highlighted Poem:Early Affection” 

Book to check out:  Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton by Don Tate

Maya Angelou1928–2014

Highlighted poem:  “Alone

Book to check out: The Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou 

Kevin Young, 1970 to present

Highlighted poem: “Banjo” 

Book to check out: Book of Hours by Kevin Young

Lucille Clifton1936–2010

Highlighted poem: “Far Memory

Book to check out: The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton 1965-2010 edited by Kevin Young and Michael S. Glaser 

Langston Hughes1902–1967

Highlighted poem: “Dreams” 

Book to check out: Sail Away poems by Langston Hughes

Terrance Hayes1971 to present

Highlighted poem: For Crying Out Loud” 

Book to read: American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin by Terrance Hayes

Robin Coste Lewis1964 to present

Highlighted poem: “Summer

Book to check out: Voyage of the Sable Venus and Other Poems by Robin Coste Lewis

Audre Lorde1934–1992

Highlighted poem: “Movement Song

Book to check out: The Collected Poems of Audre Lorde 

Alice Walker1944 to present 

Highlighted poem: “What It Feels Like

Book to check out: The World Will Follow Joy: Turning Madness into Flowers 

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