Our Black History Month blogs this year will focus on:
In honor of Black History Month we are proud to celebrate Black art.
Valentine's Day is a fitting time to introduce love poems to those you love. Various versions of "roses are red, violets are blue" are fun but today we would like to introduce you to some beautiful love poetry written by African-Americans! Feel free to recite them to your loved one today!
Paul Laurence Dunbar
The poet, Paul Laurence Dunbar, was born in Dayton, Ohio in 1872 and wrote his first poem at the young age of six. He gave his first recital at the age of nine and went onto write a dozen books of poetry, four books of short stories, five novels and a play. He wrote lyrics for In Dahomey, the first musical written and performed by African-Americans on Broadway, in 1903. Dunbar was published in Harper's Weekly, the Denver Post and numerous other publications. He died of tuberculosis at the age of thirty-three. He has been known for his skillful use of dialect while retaining impressive structure.
Excerpt from "Invitation to Love"
Come when the nights are bright with stars
Or come when the moon is mellow;
Come when the sun his golden bars
Drops on the hay-field yellow.
Come in the twilight soft and gray,
Come in the night or come in the day,
Come, O love, whene'er you may,
And you are welcome, welcome.
Nikki Giovanni is one of the most renowned poets of our time. She entered the poetry circle during the Black Arts movement. She writes mostly of civil rights, equality and love. Ms. Giovanni has received some twenty-five honorary degrees and is the author of some 30 books for both adults and children. Nikki Giovanni is a University Distinguished Professor at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia.
***As a side note, I had the pleasure of meeting Nikki Giovanni when I was working on a novel in my early twenties. She gladly agreed to read an excerpt and mailed me a handwritten card encouraging me to continue to write. I will never forget that! Of course, I saved the card!
Excerpt from "My House"
i spent all winter in
carpet stores gathering
patches so i could make
does this really sound
like a silly poem
i mean i want to keep you
Jessie Redmon Fauset
Dear, when we sit in that high, placid room,
'Loving' and 'doving' as all lovers do,
Laughing and leaning so close in the gloom, --
What is the change that creeps sharp over you?
Just as you raise your fine hand to my hair
Bringing that glance of mixed wonder and rue?
Who are some of your favorite African-American poets?