The list of some of my Top 5 poets.

Poet Lightning

Born and raised in St Louis, Mo.  Poet Lightning is one of the most prominent poets to ever grace the stage. She has been performing poetry for over 22 years and hosted her own show named Hustle and Flow, The Experience for 7 years. Lightning has opened up for the likes of Common, Michael Colyar, and a list of others. What separates her from other poets is that she is versatile. She doesn’t just focus on one type of poetry. She is a truth speaker more than anything. She takes you on so many places and journeys with her poems. Her messages are about uplifting, healing, and empowering women. 

Poet Lightning Poem” IDGAF”

Danez Smith

Danez Smith is a black Queer poet from Saint Paul, Minnesota. After contracting HIV in 2017, He used the disease as a way to express himself. Danez is one of the most notable poets out here. His poetry assesses the ramifications of HIV in gender, sexuality, and race. He is able to transcribe the world through his vision and powerful words. He is the author of Don’t Call Us Dead (2017), which was a finalist for the National Book Award. His other poetry work [insert] Boy (2014), was the winner of the Lambda Literary Award and the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. Danez Smith has been featured by The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Guardian, Buzzfeed, Best American Poetry, PBS NewsHour and the Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

Danez Smith Poem “Waiting on you to die so I can be myself” 

Aja Monet

Hailing from Brooklyn, New York, Aja, of Cuban Jamaican descendant is the youngest poet to ever win the Nuyorican Poets Café Grand Slam Championship at the age of 19 in 2007. What makes this a miraculous feat is no woman has won the Grand Slam Championship since. Aja’s poems explore world migration, spirituality, race, and gender. She has published two chapbooks: The Black Unicorn Sings (2010) and Inner-City Cyborgs and Ciphers (2014). . She has collaborated with poet and musical artist Saul Williams on the book Chorus. Aja is steadily climbing up the ranks as one of the most extraordinary poets in the world.

Aja Monet poem  “Say Her Name”

Malcolm London

Chicago native poet Malcolm London is an activist whose poems surround issues dealing with social justice. His poetry reflects his deep-rooted beliefs of the world against blacks. He evokes a real sense of empowerment for African American people.  London would go on to appear on several TED Talks with John Legend and Bill Gates. Malcolm continues to use his poetry to motivate and inspire activism. He worked with actor Matt Damon as part of an event called “The People Speak Live. Malcolm has been heavy into the movement fighting for the rights of blacks and his poems always shape the narrative of overcoming the oppression that African Americans face.

Malcolm London poem. “Why You Talk Like That”

Jericho Brown

Jericho Brown has a unique writing style when it comes to his poetry. He is innovative in creating what is known as Duplex poetry, which is a poem of couplets that grows off of itself. His cadence and lyrics are memorable and majestic as he leaves audiences breathless from his words. The Shreveport, Louisiana poet is the author of The Tradition (Copper Canyon Press, 2019), winner of the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, and a finalist for the 2019 National Book Award in Poetry; The New Testament (Copper Canyon Press, 2014), which received the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award. Jericho is currently an associate professor of the Creative Writing Program at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.

Jericho Brown Pulitzer Prize-Winning Poems

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