Black Love Poetry is mainly from African-American poets.
Much of Black Love Poetry is contemporary. This is not because Black or African literature is new or that it does not have a rich history or tradition, but is largely due to the effects of the tragedies well documented in the recorded history of the African people, of dislocation, deprivation and degradation.
In these circumstances it is hardly surprising that the propagation of Black culture including its literary achievements is a much recent phenomenon when compared to other races.
Thus in the past whenever black culture surfaced in the public mainstream it tended to be largely ignored and often erroneously stereotyped as primitive.
One other reason why this is the case is the largely oral traditions that underpins much of the history of African literature.
These massive handicaps aside, Black culture is as rich as those of any other people, and this is manifest in its contributions to dance, music and art.
Unearthing the rich cultural history of the race is however outside our scope and within this limitation, I bring you the best of Black love poetry from the last century, mainly from African Americans who have enjoyed some degree of exposure by virtue of historical antecedents.
Modern Black Love Poetry is characterised by its environment. It is direct and in your face, with very few pretensions. In keeping with modernism, it can be spare and austere. A lot of it is also extremely passionate and graphic.
Afrocentricity is its backbone, which cannot be otherwise given its history of struggle for the emancipation of the black man and the American civil rights movement.
Its relative youth aside, Black love poetry has already garnered many famous exponents. Famous black poets abound who have produced beautiful love poetry that are a sine qua non for any compilation of black love poetry. The first African-American poet to attain national fame was Paul Dunbar (1872-1905) and his black love poetry is well represented here. Others are Gwendoline Brooks, Claude Mckay, Anne Spencer, Alice Walker and the iconic Nikki Giovanni.
Maya Angelou's black love poetry starts us off in this section of the page with five entries. I also include that great jazz poet of the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920's, Langston Hughes.
Gwendoline Brooks and Nikki Giovanni are also known as poets of the controversial Black Arts Movement which has attracted much criticism of late, even from prominent African -American scholars like Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (who deemed it the 'shortest and least successful' movement in African American cultural history.)
Finally, it will be equally remiss for one to ignore the contributions of African poets. In our time Africans have achieved much literary acclaim, despite the constraints of developing their ouoevre in a foreign language.
The 1986 Nobel Literature Laureate, Nigerian playwright and author Wole Soyinka is a notable example. I have beautiful and eloquent love poetry from him and other contemporary African poets like John Pepper Clark- Bekederemo and Leopold Senghor of Senegal who poured his life energy into politics and the philosophy of Negritude as an affirmation of the ascendancy of black culture and values. Others are George Awoonor-Williams, Kwesi Brew and Okogbule Wonodi.
There is also dazzling black love poetry from Christopher Okigbo whose muse always evoked mythical romantic elementals. Under his spellbinding pen, they come alive wonderfully. Okigbo's early promise and brilliance was cut short by the fraticidal Nigerian Civil War of 1967-1970.
These contributions to from Mother Africa provide a fitting conclusion to the page and are offered up for your enjoyment.
As an entre, here are two examples of black love poetry from modern poets that eloquently convey the essence of their art and milieu:
Hey There Poetry
Written by BlueWater
Cool and refreshing you are to me
Those intimate twist of verbs and nouns
That makes my river flow with out bounds
Breaking loose that intense feeling
Causing strength and inner healing
Moonlight whispers come from you
Stimulate pleasure, in the midnight blue
Speaking softly of the stars
Caressing me with your breathtaking charm
Making me feel that I am the one
As the river flow and run
You are so special yes you are
From you I feel warmth release and love
You take me from an ordinary day
And bless me with much to say
You are a welcome a cool delight
Together we venture to magnificent height
So wonderful to have you in my life
As we wine and dine with words
Into the night
Hey There Poetry
by Lynette Jefferies
captured her heart
stole her mind
acquired passage to her soul
in the silence of her dreams
smeared picture of perfection
shades of ebony
draped in chocolate
sketched into reality
only to be observed
this tasted opportunity
the one he's been searching for
no less than everything
and yet nothing more
sexy smiles....sexy frowns
it's like the poetry
from he to she
These two examples are quite representative of what is on offer in my pages on modern black love poetry. The black poets featured are not famous or renown. Many write under pseudonyms and probably are yet to have their works published in book form. But a lot of the poetry is fresh, engaging and clearly provide escape valves of expression for their authors. A release for pent-up emotions, seeking cathartic closure.
If you would like to see more of these modern black love poetry, click below:
Nikki Giovanni 1
Famous Black Love Poetry 1
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