October 17th is Black Poetry Day, a celebration of the voices of African-American poets.
This date was chosen to honor Jupiter Hammon, the first African-American to have a poem published (in 1760): he was born on this day. You can find more literary milestones in the encyclopedia Black Firsts.
In 1773 an entire book of poems by Phillis Wheatley was published in Philadelphia – a reprint of the edition she had published in London. You can read the second American edition online from our Ebooks collection. Wheatley was a celebrity on both sides of the Atlantic, but died young.
We have quite a few books, ebooks, and audio books of poetry by African-American authors. Here is a list from our catalog to start off with.
Several of our books are for children, and some are song lyrics. My favorite way to absorb a poem is to listen to it read, or read it aloud myself. What is yours?