Lesser Known Black Poets to Read

April is National Poetry Month, and during this time the air blossoms with poetry. T. S. Eliot laments in The Wasteland that “April is the cruellest month,” and this is especially the case if you’re a poet who feels that the hoopla of the month passes you by. There are a multitude of talented Black poets out there, but I often see the same names appear on to-read lists. I’m here to shed light on three lesser known living Black poets whose books I enjoyed reading.

Alan King, author of Point Blank: Poems (Silver Birch Press, 2016). King is great at setting the scene, dropping the reader into the moment of the poem. He covers boyhood, manhood and fatherhood in this collection through questions and observations.

Crystal Boson, author of The Bitter Map (Honeysuckle Press, 2018). This collection won the 2017 Honeysuckle Chapbook contest, and for good reason. The poems speak on the dangers of being Black and queer in a world that is hostile to both identities. These are prayers asking God for what most people would consider simple blessings, such as safety and belonging, yet to the speakers they would be miracles.

Tariq Touré, author of 2 Parts Oxygen (2018). Touré is one of my favorite poets around. When I read his poems, I feel my spirit swell within me. Topics of poor, urban living are treated with dignity and compassion, and hope. His imagery will transport readers to far off worlds within.