poets The Best African American Poets of All Time

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List Rules Vote up the all time greatest African American Poets

Who are the best African American poets? This list includes great African American poets such as Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes, James Baldwin, and Gwendolyn Brooks. The male and female African American poets on this list have left their mark on the world of poetry, and are still contributing to the genre today.

Written works have the ability to make us feel. They make us want to believe, be inspired, and live vicariously through the stories on the page. Whether short or long form, poetry is often illusory, and full of rich imagery or hidden meaning. It is these elements which provoke readers to dig deeper. The best poems and poets are read throughout the ages. They are passed from generation to generation and taught throughout school to young students.

Poets and their poetry have the ability to take readers places and into worlds never imagined. Poets can often be tortured souls or great thinkers who allow readers a new view on the world. These greatest African American poets provide the kind of emotional connection to the written word that few can.

Vote up the best African American poets on the list below, or add a poet of African American descent who is truly great, but not already on the list.

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Langston Hughes is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best African American Poets of All Time
Langston Hughes Died at 65 (1902-1967)

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Maya Angelou is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best African American Poets of All Time
Maya Angelou Died at 86 (1928-2014)

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Lucille Clifton is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best African American Poets of All Time
Lucille Clifton Died at 74 (1936-2010)

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James Baldwin is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best African American Poets of All Time
James Baldwin Died at 63 (1924-1987)

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Gwendolyn Brooks is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best African American Poets of All Time
Gwendolyn Brooks Died at 83 (1917-2000)

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Nikki Giovanni is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best African American Poets of All Time

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Phillis Wheatley is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best African American Poets of All Time
Phillis Wheatley Died at 31 (1753-1784)

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Rita Dove is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best African American Poets of All Time
Rita Dove age 63

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Robert Hayden is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best African American Poets of All Time
Robert Hayden Died at 67 (1913-1980)

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Paul Laurence Dunbar is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best African American Poets of All Time
Paul Laurence Dunbar Died at 34 (1872-1906)

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Lorna Dee Cervantes is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best African American Poets of All Time

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Alice Walker is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best African American Poets of All Time
Alice Walker age 71

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Natasha Trethewey is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best African American Poets of All Time

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Arna Bontemps is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best African American Poets of All Time
Arna Bontemps Died at 71 (1902-1973)

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Jupiter Hammon is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best African American Poets of All Time
Jupiter Hammon Died at 95 (1711-1806)

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Amiri Baraka is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best African American Poets of All Time
Amiri Baraka Died at 80 (1934-2014)

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Claude McKay is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best African American Poets of All Time
Claude McKay Died at 59 (1889-1948)

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Sherley Anne Williams is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best African American Poets of All Time
Sherley Anne Williams Died at 55 (1944-1999)

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Jessie Redmon Fauset is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best African American Poets of All Time
Jessie Redmon Fauset Died at 79 (1882-1961)

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Yusef Komunyakaa is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best African American Poets of All Time

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Audre Lorde is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best African American Poets of All Time
Audre Lorde Died at 58 (1934-1992)

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Wanda Phipps is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best African American Poets of All Time
Wanda Phipps age 55

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Etheridge Knight is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best African American Poets of All Time
Etheridge Knight Died at 60 (1931-1991)

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Quincy Troupe is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best African American Poets of All Time
Quincy Troupe age 76

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Cornelius Eady is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best African American Poets of All Time

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Countee Cullen is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best African American Poets of All Time
Countee Cullen Died at 43 (1903-1946)

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James Emanuel is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best African American Poets of All Time
James Emanuel Died at 92 (1921-2013)

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James Weldon Johnson is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best African American Poets of All Time
James Weldon Johnson Died at 67 (1871-1938)

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Forrest Hamer is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best African American Poets of All Time
Forrest Hamer age 59

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Sterling Allen Brown is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best African American Poets of All Time
Sterling Allen Brown Died at 88 (1901-1989)