The Book Buzzlist: Black Poetry Books You Should Have On Your Bookshelf

April is National Poetry Month and in honor of our nation’s celebration of prose and its vital place in American culture, is highlighting some of our favorite poets and poetry books for, by and about our people. Dig in!

1. The 100 Best African American Poems by Nikki Giovanni
Award-winning poet and writer Nikki Giovanni takes on the difficult task of selecting the 100 best African- American works from classic and contemporary poets. This startlingly vibrant collection spans from historic to modern, from structured to free-form, and reflects the rich roots and visionary future of African-American verse in American culture.

2. So Much Things to Say: 100 Poets from the First Ten Years of the Calabash International Literary Festival By Kwame Dawes
Contributors include: Robert Pinsky, Derek Walcott, Elizabeth Alexander, Amiri Baraka, Martin Espada, Terrance Hayes, Valzyna Mort, Sonia Sanchez, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Patricia Smith, Saul Williams, Staceyann Chin, and 88 others. Imagine a night of a hundred poets reading their work to an audience of intensely engaged, responsive, and lively people.

3. The Sun is So Quiet by Nikki Giovanni
The quiet and noisy, wintery and sometimes sunny poems in The Sun Is So Quiet will always make you smile. Nikki Giovanni describes riding rainbows, tiptoeing through strawberry patches, licking chocolaty fingers, snuggling under covers (age 4-8)

4. Poetry for Young People by Langston Hughes
Edited by the two leading experts on Hughes’s work, and illustrated by the brilliant Benny Andrews, this very special volume is one to treasure forever. A much-requested book that was years in the makingand well worth the wait. (age 9-12)

5. The Rose That Grew From Concrete by Tupac Shakur
Tupac’s most honest and intimate thoughts conveyed through the pure art of poetry a mirror into his enigmatic life and its many contradictions. Written in his own hand at the age of nineteen, they embrace his spirit, his energy…and his ultimate message of hope. (ideal for teenagers)

6. Verbal Penetration: The Punany Poets
Powerful, provocative, and raw, self-described punany poets take readers on an extraordinary erotic journey, melding poetry, short stories, and prose to explore the essence of black male and female sexuality. The Punany Poets are pioneers of erotic entertainment, creating lush literary works that also encourage self-empowerment and safer sex.

The North Paran Book Buzzlist is a weekly feature produced by that gives readers an entertaining digest of the most fascinating books that are being talked about by the black community today.

Remember: For every book you purchase at, a new book will be given to a child in need!

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Denene Millner

Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.

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