poets The Best African American Poets of All Time  

Ranker Books
534 votes 155 voters 8k views 30 items

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.

list ordered by

1
59 13
Maya Angelou is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best African American Poets of All Time
Maya Angelou I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Sister, Sister

2
48 13
Langston Hughes is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best African American Poets of All Time
Langston Hughes Fine Clothes to the Jew, Black Misery, Not Without Laughter

3
30 7
Gwendolyn Brooks is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best African American Poets of All Time
Gwendolyn Brooks In the Mecca; Poems, Annie Allen

4
27 6
James Baldwin is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best African American Poets of All Time
James Baldwin Go Tell It on the Mountain, Another Country, Notes of a Native Son

5
23 5
Lucille Clifton is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best African American Poets of All Time
Lucille Clifton Good news about the earth, Good Woman: Poems and A Memoir, 1969-1980

6
24 6
Nikki Giovanni is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best African American Poets of All Time
Nikki Giovanni Rosa, The Collected Poetry of Nikki Giovanni, Cotton candy on a rainy day

7
16 3
Natasha Trethewey is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best African American Poets of All Time
Natasha Trethewey Native Guard, Bellocq's Ophelia, Thrall: Poems

8
20 7
Phillis Wheatley is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best African American Poets of All Time
Phillis Wheatley Poems of Phillis Wheatley, The collected works of Phillis Wheatley, Poems on Various Subjects

9
12 3
Rita Dove is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best African American Poets of All Time
Rita Dove Thomas and Beulah, On the Bus with Rosa Parks, American Smooth

10
10 2
Claude McKay is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best African American Poets of All Time
Claude McKay Banjo, a story without a plot, Complete poems

11
11 3
Amiri Baraka is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best African American Poets of All Time
Amiri Baraka Home, The essence of reparation, Transbluesency

12
13 6
Alice Walker is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best African American Poets of All Time
Alice Walker The Color Purple, Possessing the Secret of Joy, The Temple of My Familiar

13
8 2
Jupiter Hammon is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best African American Poets of All Time
Jupiter Hammon An address to the Negroes in the state of New-York

14
11 5
Robert Hayden is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best African American Poets of All Time
Robert Hayden A ballad of remembrance, Words in the mourning time, Angle of ascent

The Best American Poets

15
11 5
Paul Laurence Dunbar is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best African American Poets of All Time
Paul Laurence Dunbar The sport of the gods, The fanatics., The complete stories of Paul Laurence Dunbar

16
5 1
Jessie Redmon Fauset is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best African American Poets of All Time
Jessie Redmon Fauset Plum Bun, Comedy American style, There is confusion

17
6 3
Lorna Dee Cervantes is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best African American Poets of All Time
Lorna Dee Cervantes Drive: The First Quartet, Emplumada, From the cables of genocide

18
6 3
James Weldon Johnson is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best African American Poets of All Time
James Weldon Johnson Along this way, The Book of American Negro Poetry, James Weldon Johnson

19
6 3
Audre Lorde is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best African American Poets of All Time
Audre Lorde The Cancer Journals, The Marvelous Arithmetic of Distance: Poems 1987-1992, Undersong: Chosen Poems Old and New

20
5 2
Wanda Phipps is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best African American Poets of All Time

21
5 2
Sherley Anne Williams is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best African American Poets of All Time
Sherley Anne Williams Working Cotton, Dessa Rose, Girls together

The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers

22
7 5
Etheridge Knight is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best African American Poets of All Time
Etheridge Knight The essential Etheridge Knight, Black voices from prison, 2 poems for black relocation centers

23
6 5
Arna Bontemps is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best African American Poets of All Time
Arna Bontemps The pasteboard bandit, 100 years of Negro freedom, Frederick Douglass: slave

24
4 3
Cornelius Eady is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best African American Poets of All Time
Cornelius Eady Kartunes, Victims of the Latest Dance Craze, Running Man

25
5 5
Quincy Troupe is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best African American Poets of All Time
Quincy Troupe Take It To The Hoop, Magic Johnson, Choruses

26
5 5
Countee Cullen is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best African American Poets of All Time
Countee Cullen Caroling Dusk, The Medea and some poems, The black Christ & other poems

27
4 4
Yusef Komunyakaa is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best African American Poets of All Time
Yusef Komunyakaa Taboo, Warhorses, Talking Dirty to the Gods

28
3 5
Sterling Allen Brown is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best African American Poets of All Time
Sterling Allen Brown The Negro in American fiction, The Collected Poems of Sterling A. Brown, The Negro caravan

29
2 4
James Emanuel is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best African American Poets of All Time
James Emanuel The treehouse, and other poems, Panther man

30
2 4
Forrest Hamer is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best African American Poets of All Time
Forrest Hamer Call and response, Middle ear, Rift