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  • Hridya Chaudhary

10 Black poets you can quote the next time you are emo.

February is deemed as Black History Month to honour and celebrate all Caribbean and African descent folks throughout the world. It is no secret that they have struggled to carve a place in society fighting against prejudice, racism, and social injustice every step on the way. The Canadian Government’s theme for Black History Month – February 2020 is ‘Canadians of African Decent: Going Forward, Guided by the Past’. 

To cherish this month, let’s look at poetry, inlaid with ripples of emotion, creating waves, all by Black folks. Psst… you can quote these when you’re in your bed trying to find the right words to cry to, or when you’re all mushy looking at your s.o., or simply when you just want to embrace your inner power. 

  1. Rudy Francisco 

“I imagine that when God made you, I bet he cussed for the first time. I bet he turned to an angel, gave him a high-five and said God damn I’m good.” 

From – To the Girl Who Works at Starbucks

2. Yona Harvey 

“Katrina was  a woman I knew. When you were an infant she rained on you & she  do & she do & she do & she do” 

From – Hurricane 

3. Thomas Sayers Ellis

“Used to be a whole lot of chalk around the Ark, then anger, then angles, their angels made of fried white dust, fallen from when the board of knowledge was public and named after a stranger or rick crook, an anti-in immigrant-can’tameter stretched across the teepee-skin”

From – Vernacular Owl

4. Sonia Sanchez 

“i hear your  pulse swallowing  neglected light”

From – 14 Haiku

5. Gil Scott-Heron 

“I think I’ll call it morning from now on.  I’m gonna take myself a piece of sunshine  and paint it all over my sky.  Be no rain. Be no rain.” 

From – I Think I’ll Call It Morning

6.Margaret Walker 

“I am a child of the valley.  Mud and muck and misery of lowlands  are on thin tracks of my feet.”

From – Delta 

7. Langston Hughes 

“Play your guitar, boy,  Till yesterday’s  Black cat Runs out tomorrow’s  Black door” 

From – Blues on a Box

8.Maya Angelou 

“And suddenly we see   that love costs all we are  and ever will be.  Yet it is only love which sets us free.” 

From – Touched by An Angel

9. Nikki Giovanni 

“show me someone not full of herself  and i’ll show you a hungry person”

From – Poem For A Lady Whose Voice I Like

10. Philip Williams

“the boy’s first word for pain  is the light’s  new word for home.”

From – Speak

The following are the links if you want to read the entire poem – 

To The Girl Who Works at Starbucks – Rudy Francisco

Hurricane – Yona Harvey

Vernacular Owl – Thomas Sayers Ellis

14 Haiku – Sonia Sanchez

I Think I’ll Call It Morning – Gil Scott-Heron

Delta – Margaret Walker

Blues on a Box – Langston Hughes

Touched by an Angel – Maya Angelou

Poem For A Lady Whose Voice I Like – Nikki

Speak – Philip Williams

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