10 Poetry Collections by Black Women #BlackHistoryMonth


It’s Black History Month! And while I try to read and highlight Black writers throughout the year, I thought I’d contribute a few extra posts for folks celebrating and folks looking for more resources. While spoken word is my first love, I have been getting better at reading poetry and so I thought I’d share some of my favorite Black women poets and collections that I’m reading or that are on my list. Let me know in the comments what you’re reading this month!

1.Narratives: Poems in the Tradition of Black Women by Cheryl Clarke gr-pic


Black lesbian poet Cheryl Clarke’s 1992 collection, first published by Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press, is about love and women creating representation.


2.The Black Unicorn by Audre Lorde gr-pic


Fed up with the whiteness of the poetry and nearly all literature taught in my school, Audre Lorde was one of the first poets I really connected with. The poems in this collection are beautiful and powerful, and explore how we inhabit multiple positions. Find “A Litany for Survival,” and other poems here.


3.Black Wings & Blind Angels by Sapphire gr-pic


This work collects over 40 poems by the author of Push, as unflinching and harrowing and powerful as her novel, but also trigger warnings for abuse and incest.


4.Blood Dazzler by Patricia Smith gr-pic


When it comes to poetry, spoken word is my first love. Here’s Blood Dazzler by amazing Patricia Smith, check our her spoken word performances (some videos are available online)! This collection follows Hurricane Katrina and the destruction unleashed through the voices of survivors, politicians and even the hurricane itself.

5.They Are All Me by Dominique Christina gr-pic


Another slam poet, Dominique Christina is also an educator and activist and this work is her second poetry collection.  She takes on topics such as genocide, police violence, Katrina and menstruation.

6.Gospel by Samiya Bashir gr-pic


In this collection, poet Samiya Bashir takes on fear and power through gospel, but not necessarily (just) the religious meaning of the word. By the way, Bashir’s newest work comes out in April!


7.Beastgirl and Other Origin Myths by Elizabeth Acevedo gr-pic


In the 2016 collection Beastgirl, Afro-Latina poet Acevedo interweaves personal stories, mythology and Dominican culture.

8. BlackGirl Mansion by Angel Nafis gr-pic


Also a spoken word artist, Angel Nafis’ poetry leaps off the page: “I am here now,/speaking and giving/in bursts/of chest, and effort,/and temperature.”

9.Trigger by Venus Selenite gr-pic


This is poet, writer, performance artist, social critic, editor, educator, and technologist Venus Selenite’s debut collection “is a bold, intimate, and comfortable/uncomfortable quest, through (Selenite’s) own eyes, in being Black, being queer, being trans, being a woman, and being non-binary in 21st century America, in what continues to be systemic and oppressive, but also adventurous and ecstatic” (venusselenite.com). Venus Selenite is also the co-editor of Nameless Woman: An Anthology of Fiction by Trans Women of Color (forthcoming).

10.Name Poems by Jewelle L. Gómez gr-pic


The Gilda Stories author Jewelle Gómez writes poetry as well. In this 2015 collection, she examines experiences at multiple intersections, exploring her Native American (Ioway, Wampanoag) heritage and Black lesbian identity.

Further reading:

10 Works of Black Lesbian Short Fiction

What are you reading this Black History Month?

23 thoughts on “10 Poetry Collections by Black Women #BlackHistoryMonth

Add yours

    1. Thanks so much, Deepika!😘 Oh that’s wonderful, though now I have to pick one!😱😁 I can never recommend Audre Lorde enough! Also BlackGirl Mansions or Jewelle Gomez, depending on which books you can get access to. Happy reading!📚🙌

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you, Bina. ❤ I was looking forward to reading one of these. But they are not available here. Do you recommend anything else for me to read for #BlackHistoryMonth?


    1. Hope some of these can convince you😊 I tend to read a few poems and then put the collection back and pick it up later. Super slow but I prefer reading poetry collections slowly. Check out the spoken word vids of some of these poets🙌📚


  1. Great list! I lLOVE The Black Unicorn; Patricia Smith has been on my TBR overlong; and Elizabeth Avecedo’s Beastgirl and Other Origin Myths look tempting.


  2. After reading Salt and Bone, I definitely need more poetry!! The ones that really speak out to me are The Black Unicorn and Name Poems. I couldn’t find the latter on Kindle, but Black Unicorn is $9.99. I’ll wait a little to see if it goes on sale, but may just get it anyway.
    Thanks for this list!


  3. OMG these all look brilliant, thanks Bina! I really do need to read more poetry. My personal favourite poetry collection by a black poet is Muse and Drudge by Harryette Mullen. I studied it last year and it absolutely blew me away.


  4. Thank you for another phenomenal list! I cannot wait to find copies of some of these collections. Sadly, I am having trouble locally, but I will look more online.


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