Black love poetry includes many famous African-American poets

There are few writers in black love poetry more renown than Alice Walker (b.1944), the very prominent African-American writer and poet. Quite an activist in her career since the sixties, she is most famous for her book, The Color Purple for which she won a Pullitzer in 1983.

Here are two selections of her black love poetry:


I have a friend

who is turning gray,

not just her hair,

and I do not know

why this is so.

Is it a lack of vitamin E

pantothenic acid, or B-12?

Or is it from being frantic

and alone?

'How long does it take you to love someone?'

I ask her.

'A hot second,' she replies.

'And how long do you love them?'

'Oh, anywhere up to several months.'

'And how long does it take you

to get over loving them?'

'Three weeks,' she said, 'tops.'

Did I mention I am also

turning gray?

It is because I *adore* this woman

who thinks of love

in this way.

I`m Really Very Fond

I`m really very fond of you

he said.

I don't like fond.

It sounds like something

you would tell a dog

Give me love

or nothing.

Throw your fond in a pond

I said

But what I felt for him

was also warm, frisky,



and could swim away

if forced to do so

My next famous black love poetry is from Jean Toomer(1894-1967). Toomer was quite a departure from the average African-American poet. Born of a caucasian father, into a negro upper class family, his unusual background provided him access and exposure to places not normally available to people of his racial background.

His book Cane (1923) which consisted of short stories and poetry made him famous and very influential with many of the Harlem Renaissance intelligensia like Zora Neal Hurston and Langston Hughes.

I have a selection of four examples of black love poetry from Jean Toomer:

Evening Song

Full moon rising on the waters of my heart,

Lakes and moon and fires,

Cloine tires,

Holding her lips apart.

Promises of slumber leaving shore to charm the moon,

Miracle made vesper-keeps,

Cloine sleeps,

And I'll be sleeping soon.

Cloine, curled like the sleepy waters

where the moonwaves start,

Radiant, resplendently she gleams,

Cloine dreams,

Lips pressed against my heart.

Tell Me

Tell me, dear beauty of the dusk,

When purple ribbons bind the hill,

Do dreams your secret wish fulfill,

Do prayers, like kernels from the husk

Come from your lips?

Tell me if when

The mountains loom at night,

giant shades

Of softer shadow,

swift like blades

Of grass seeds come to flower.


Tell me if the night winds bend

Them towards me, if the Shenandoah

As it ripples past your shore,

Catches the soul of what you send.

For M.W. and Her Lips Are Copper Wire are my final selections of Jean Toomer's black love poetry:

For M.W.

There is no transcience of twilight in

The beauty of your soft dusk-dimpled face,

No flicker of a slender flame in space,

In crucibles, fragility crystalline.

There is no fragrance of the jessamine

About you, no pathos of some old place

At dusk, that crumbles like moth-eater lace

Beneath the touch. Nor has there ever been.

Your love is like the folk-song's flaming rise

In cane-lipped southern people, like their soul

Which burst its bondage in a bold travail;

Your voice is like them singing, soft and wise,

Your face, sweetly efflgent of the whole,

Inviolate of ways that would feile.

Her Lips Are Copper Wire

whisper of yellow globes

gleaming on lamp-posts that sway

like bootleg licker drinkers in the fog

and let your breath be moist against me

like bright beads on yellow globes

telephone the power-house

that the main wires are insulate

(her words play softly up and down

dewy corridors of billboards)

then with your tongue remove the tape

and press your lips to mine

till they are incandescent

Famous black love poetry from other notable writers are available below:

Famous Black Love Poetry 3

African 1

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