Anthology of Black Poets

The River Writing community unabashedly supports the Black Lives Matter movement. In community we can dismantle white supremacy. We believe in the transformative power of poetry. This growing anthology is especially curated for poems which offer prompt lines or generate questions for River Writing. Thank you for engaging it.

If you feel drawn to the work of a particular poet, consider buying their book from an independent book store. Buying books is one of the best ways to support poets and poetry.

*Ai (b. 1947 - d. 2010)
Book: Vice: New and Selected Poems
Elizabeth Alexander (b. 1962)
*Maya Angelou (b. 1928 - d. 2014)
James Baldwin (b. 1924 - d. 1987)
Amiri Baraka (b. 1934 - d. 2014)
Reginald Dwayne Betts (b. 1980)
Gwendolyn Brooks (b. 1917 - d. 2000)
*Jericho Brown (b. 1976)
A Foreday
The Tradition
Mahogany L. Browne (b. 1976)
*Lucille Clifton (b. 1936 - d. 2010)
homage to my hips 
won’t you celebrate with me
blessing the boats
Countee Cullen (b. 1903 - d. 1946)
Yrsa Daley-Ward (b. 1984)
Rita Dove (b. 1952)
Paul Laurence Dunbar (b. 1872 - d. 1906)
Nikky Finney (b. 1957)
T’ai Freedom Ford (b. unknown)
*Ross Gay (b. 1974)
Becoming A Horse
The Puritan in Me
Nikki Giovanni (b. 1943)
Robert Hayden (b. 1913 - d. 1980)
Terrance Hayes (b. 1971)
bell hooks (b. 1952)
*Langston Hughes (b. 1901 - d. 1967)
*Major Jackson (b. 1968)
Tyehimba Jess (b. 1965)
June Jordan (b. 1936 - d. 2002)
Yusef Komunyakaa (b. 1947)
Etheridge Knight (b. 1931 - d. 1991)
Kurtis Lamkin (b. unknown)
Audre Lorde (b. 1934 - d. 1992)
Toni Morrison (b. 1931 - d. 2019)
Morgan Parker (b. 1987)
Claudia Rankine (b. 1963)
Ntozake Shange (b. 1948 - d. 2018)
*Clint Smith (b. 1988)
Book: Counting Descent
Danez Smith (b. 1989)
dear white america
*Tracy K. Smith (b. 1972)
*Sonya Renee Taylor (b. 1976)
*Nayyirah Waheed (b. unknown)
Book: Salt 
Book: Nejma 
*Alice Walker (b. 1944)
Book: Hard Times Require Furious Dancing
Calling All Grandmothers 
I WIll Keep Broken Things 
Phyllis Wheatley (b. 1753 - d. 1784)