Today, October 17, is Black Poetry Day. Is it a legitimate holiday? It is according to the internet and this website! It was established in 1985 and is meant to celebrate black poets both past and present. October 17 is also the birthday of Jupiter Hammon, the first published black poet in the United States. Legit holiday or not, we’ll take any excuse we can to highlight black poets and black poetry; we shouldn’t need a reason or a specific day to do so.
When it comes to black poets, you probably already know the usual suspects like Langston Hughes and Maya Angelou, who are always worth praising, but there is also a young crop of poets bringing new color to words. Ahead, we had some of them share their favorite works of poetry that either inspired or changed them for the better.
And then in the video, above, poet Yrsa Daley-Ward came to our studio and shared a rendition of one of her poems, aptly titled “Poetry.” Happy holiday!