One hopes that most libraries still put aside a small part of their budgets to buy poetry books and will have many of these poems in the stacks. But for context, and in the case of Langston Hughes and Robert Hayden, multimedia, here are a few poems found online to mark the importance of the movement:
- Gwendolyn Brooks’s “A Bronzeville Mother Loiters in Mississippi. Meanwhile,
a Mississippi Mother Burns Bacon”
- Robert Hayden’s “Frederick Douglass”
- Langston Hughes’s “The Weary Blues”
- June Jordan’s “If You Saw a Negro Lady”
- Dudley Randall’s “Ballad of Birmingham”
To build collections, in addition to volumes by individual poets, consider these three outstanding anthologies that include a wide range of poems and offer insightful context and introductions: The 100 Best African American Poems edited by Nikki Giovanni (Sourcebooks MediaFusion), The Oxford Anthology of African-American Poetry edited by Arnold Rampersad and Hilary Herbold (Oxford), and Every Shut Eye Ain’t Asleep (Back Bay) and The Vintage Book of African American Poetry (Vintage), both edited by Michael S. Harper and Anthony Walton.