Today’s post is brought to you by educator extraordinaire and guest author, Cait Hutsell. Cait is a high school ELA teacher in North Central Florida. She has almost exclusively taught freshmen for seven years, but has also taught AP Lang, Yearbook, and sophomore English as well. Her superpower is reading ridiculously fast; she finished 164 books in 2018! Cait is currently vacillating between Masters programs and is a mom of one four year old, with another coming soon. Cait is involved in and supports #TeachLivingPoets, #DisruptTexts, #educolor, #ProjectLitChat, and #ClearTheAir. You can follow her on Twitter at @caitteach and see her original tweet thread with these poems; you can also check out her blog at teachlikeasquirrel.com.
Click here for a video playlist to celebrate Black poets.
“Southern Gothic” by Rickey Laurentiis (poem link)
“Letter to five of the presidents who owned slaves while they were in office” by Clint Smith @ClintSmithIII
“where you are planted” by Evie Shockley (link)
“Sonnet” by James Weldon Johnson (link)
“Black Girl Magic” by Mahogany L. Browne @mobrowne
“Nina’s Blues” by Cornelius Eady (link)
“Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou, read by Serena Williams
“For Trayvon Martin” by Reuben Jackson (link)
“Coal” by Audre Lorde (link)
“BLK History Month” by Nikki Giovanni (link)
“History Lesson” by Natasha Trethewey @NTrethewey (link)
“Knock, knock” by Daniel Beaty (website)
“Eddie Priest’s Barbershop and Notary” by Kevin Young @Deardarkness (link)
“truth” by Gwendolyn Brooks (link)
“For the Boys at the Bottom of the Sea” by Clint Smith
“Beloved” by Elizabeth Acevedo @AcevedoWrites
“dream where every black person is standing by the ocean” by Danez Smith @Danez_Smif
“I saw Emmett Till this week at a grocery store” by Eve L. Ewing
“Black Laws” by Roger Reeves (link)
“Say My Name” by Idris Goodwin @idrisgoodwin
“Virginia is for Lovers” by
@Nic_Sealey Nicole Sealey (link)
“Self Portrait with a Yellow Dress” by Safia Elhillo
“LAWS WITHOUT MORALS ARE USELESS” by Cortney Lamar Charleston (link)
“To the woman I saw today who wept in her car” by Bianca Lynne Spriggs (link) @biancalynne
“Hair” by Elizabeth Acevedo @AcevedeoWrites
“Prayer Serving the Cycle” by Donte Collins @donte_thepoet
Camille Dungy “Frequently Asked Questions #7” (link)
“Call and Response” by Kyle Dargan @Free_KGD
“Canary” by Rita Dove
@JackieWoodson “February 12, 1963” (from BROWN GIRL DREAMING) (link)
“Awaking in New York” by Maya Angelou
Hanif Abdurraqib’s “If Life Is As Short As Our Ancestors Insist It Is, Why Isn’t Everything I Want Already At My Feet” (link)
Click here for a video playlist (30+ videos!) to celebrate Black poets.
Thank you Cait for curating all of these amazing poems to honor Black History Month! What a phenomenal collection of poems. Cait and I would argue that these poems really should be taught ALL YEAR as they are all literary works of merit worthy of reading and studying in any English classroom. February offers educators an extra opportunity to honor Black history and Black writers, and to take a close look at our curriculum to make sure the voices of Black artists are not only present in February, but celebrated throughout the year.
Thank you for reading! Please comment with more of your favorite poems to add to the list!