THE BLOG

Great Poems for Black History Month

04/05/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Travis Nichols Greenpeace! Author of: Iowa, See Me Improving, Off We Go Into the Wild Blue Yonder, & The More You Ignore Me.

The Huffington Post's "Books" page is celebrating Black History Month with recommendations from Baratunde Thurston that range from how best to explore a "post-racial" society, to why this site should change its name to "The Blackington Post."

To supplement this advice from the vigilante pundit, I humbly offer a brief selection of classic and contemporary poems from the Poetry Foundation archive that explore and celebrate the rich tradition of African-American poetry. These poems range from the familiar (Langston Hughes' "I, Too") to the emergent (Thulani Davis' "skinny-dippin' in the gene pool"), and they're doubtlessly only a fraction of what has been studied, celebrated, and recited over the years. In any case, February is a great excuse to showcase them and to talk about other poems that celebrate and explore African-American history.

Do you have favorites that I've forgotten to mention? If so, please offer up your favorite selections in the comments section below, and in the meantime, stay tuned to Baratunde's twitter feed for more February suggestions.

American Income
Afaa Michael Weaver

Unholy Women
Chris Abani

Nina's Blues
Cornelius Eady

Canary
Rita Dove

Ma Rainey

Sterling A. Brown

Praise Song for the Day
Elizabeth Alexander

Elliptical
Harryette Mullen

Caged Bird
Maya Angelou

A Negro Love Song
Paul Laurence Dunbar

Beautiful Black Men
Nikki Giovanni

Booker T. and W.E.B.
Dudley Randall

Take Me Out to the Go-Go

Thomas Sayers Ellis

Yet Do I Marvel
Countee Cullen

My Country 'Tis of Thee
W.E.B. Du Bois
I, Too

Langston Hughes
Harlem Shadows
Claude McKay
Georgia Dusk
Jean Toomer
Debridement

Michael S. Harper

Flounder
Natasha Trethewey

Gwendolyn Brooks

Haki Madhubuti

Reward
Kevin Young

The Gospel of Barbecue
Honore Fanonne Jeffers

No Images
William Waring Cuney

Lothar's Wife
Colleen J. McElroy

The Birth of John Henry
Melvin B. Tolson

For My People
Margaret Walker

Ode to Big Trend
Terrance Hayes

First Fire
Camille T. Dungy

Alameda Street
Douglas Kearney