From the dawn of time, words have been impactful and made a difference in people’s lives. The Bible broke ground with “In the beginning was the word.” God spoke to Moses from the burning bush as the earth trembled with “I am, who I am.”
There were all kinds of words when nations began to speak in many languages. We are all united with various voices. A symphony of many sounds, and together we are all united. Poetry has made its mark on the scene from the poetic verses of the Psalmist, Ecclesiastes, and the Songs of Solomon.
Unknown to some, black poets emerged triumphantly. There were poets whose voices weren’t heard, and they were unseen.
Phillis Wheatley made an impression with her writing ability when she learned to write poetry. Her poem was published in 1767, “A tale of two men who nearly drowned at sea, and of their steady faith in God.” (Ref: Thought Co.)
In late 1800, we became blessed with Paul Laurence Dubar, from Kentucky, a freed slave. Renowned as a prominent black poet in American Literature. I cannot talk about black poetry without mentioning Maya Angelou. She has been an inspiration to many young and old, including myself. I remember when I first heard her speak. I was probably in my early teens. Maya Angelou, published several autobiographies, essays, and books of poetry. Her famous poems, “I know why the caged bird sings,” “Still I Rise,” “Phenomenal Woman,” are all my favourites still to this day. Although she is no longer with us, her poetry continues to resonate with us.
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” Maya Angelou
Black artists have not gone away but emerges, as we have seen in rap, reggae, spoken word, storytelling, and poetic verses. Poetry has made its way to film, television, performing arts, spoken word, and many other platforms. In Africa, folklore is important stories told and passed down from generation to generation. Poetry has and always will be a form of art. Writers and poets deemed the creative artists both past and present. They produce written masterpieces straight from the heart that we revere in awe. Historically, black literature and poetry have made its mark in society with the ability to speak from the heart. Black poetry embraces love and evokes emotion. Black poetry is not defined but embraces cultures, nature, religion, freedom, life, liberty and the pursuit of a dream. Black poets will continue to rise.