Friday, February 21, 2020

Poetry Friday: Poetry for Young People: African American Poetry

Head over to Library Matters
for this week's round-up of poetic goodness and
 Cheriee's celebration of Vancouver poet, Avis Harley.
Thanks, Cheriee, for hosting this week!

I had planned for some time to share this book for Black History Month and almost missed my chance. Added to the Poetry for Young People series in 2013, African American Poetry is an exceptional collection of verse by African-Americans. Be sure to read the introductory four page essay by editor Arnold Rampersad. Marcellus Blount is the other editor of this excellent collection. I'm highlighting several favorite poems (with links to three of them), but don't rely on my recommendations. Get your own copy so you can savor every single page and then share it with a friend.

"The Bean Eaters" by Gwendolyn Brooks 

 "I Want to Write" by Margaret Walker

"Winter Poem" by Nikki Giovanni

"Songs for the People" by Frances Ellen Watkins Harper
Although this poem was published 125 years ago, the words in this quatrain still resonate today.

". . . 
Our world, so worn and weary,
Needs music, pure and strong,
To hush the jangle and discords
Of sorrow, pain, and wrong.

. . .  "

"The Creation" by James Weldon Johnson
I love the focus on light (my OLW for 2020) in this poem. Be sure to click on the link to read the entire story about the making of the world.

" . . .
And far as the eye of God could see
Darkness covered everything,
Blacker than a hundred midnights
Down in a cypress swamp.

Then God smiled,
And the light broke,
And the darkness rolled up on one side,
And the light stood shining on the other,
And God said: That's good!

. . . " 

I hope you'll look for this anthology, read the introduction and meet some new-to-you poets!


  1. ooooh! Thank you. I need this anthology.

  2. It's a new one to me, Ramona, I will look for it! Thanks and happy weekend!

  3. Thank you so much for introducing me to this collection. "Winter Poem" by Nikki Giovanni pretty much gobsmacked me! I'm happy my library has a couple of copies and will be looking forward to reading it.

  4. I love this series but haven't yet seen this one. Thank you for sharing it. I do have the Langston Hughes one in this series. So many of his poems resonate today.

  5. I love the Poetry for Young People series and need to add this one to our collection. Thanks for highlighting it, Ramona!

  6. This line rings so true: "Our world, so worn and weary..." . Thanks for sharing this anthology, Ramona, I will have to look for it.

  7. Love the poetry shared here... thanks so much!