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
'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
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
I don't like fond.
It sounds like something
you would tell a dog
Give me love
Throw your fond in a pond
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:
Full moon rising on the waters of my heart,
Lakes and moon and fires,
Holding her lips apart.
Promises of slumber leaving shore to charm the moon,
Miracle made vesper-keeps,
And I'll be sleeping soon.
Cloine, curled like the sleepy waters
where the moonwaves start,
Radiant, resplendently she gleams,
Lips pressed against my heart.
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,
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:
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
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