Culture

The Greatest Black Female Poets 

Celebrity Lists
Updated October 13, 2018 287 votes 141 voters 7.7k views 18 items

List Rules Vote up the top black women poets around the world.

"You may write me down in history / With your bitter, twisted lies, / You may trod me in the very dirt / But still, like dust, I’ll rise." Maya Angelou published these lines in 1978, and they still resonate today. She's one of the many great black female poets celebrated on this list. Some talented black women poets write about love and heartbreak, while other famous African American poets are best known for expressing outrage at the way black women are treated by society at large.

Who will you find on this list of the top black female poets? The aforementioned Angelou would often perform live readings of her poetry at venues all over the world. Civil rights activist Audre Lorde is another one of the most popular female black poets of her generation. June Jordan's first book, Who Look at Me, was a collection of children's poems. Other talented black female poets featured on this list include Lucille Clifton, Toni Morrison, and Alice Walker.

Which black female poet do you think deserves the top spot on this list? Give the best poets a thumbs up and share some of your favorite quotes in the comments section.

list ordered by
1
Maya Angelou is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Black Female Poets
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Sister, Sister
2
Audre Lorde is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Black Female Poets
The Cancer Journals, The Marvelous Arithmetic of Distance: Poems 1987-1992, Undersong: Chosen Poems Old and New
3
Sonia Sanchez is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Black Female Poets
Wounded in the house of a friend, Homegirls & Handgrenades, Does Your House Have Lions ?
4
Toni Morrison is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Black Female Poets
Beloved, Song of Solomon, The Bluest Eye
5
Claudia Rankine is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Black Female Poets
Claudia Rankine Plot, The Provenance of Beauty; A South Bronx Travelogue, The end of the alphabet
6
Nikki Giovanni is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Black Female Poets
Rosa, The Collected Poetry of Nikki Giovanni, Cotton candy on a rainy day
7
Ntozake Shange is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Black Female Poets
for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf, Liliane, Nappy Edges
8
June Jordan is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Black Female Poets
Soldier: A Poet's Childhood, Kissing God goodbye, Directed by Desire: The Collected Poems of June Jordan
9
Elizabeth Alexander is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Black Female Poets
American Sublime, Power and Possibility, The Venus Hottentot
10
Lucille Clifton is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Black Female Poets
Good news about the earth, Good Woman: Poems and A Memoir, 1969-1980
11
Gwendolyn Brooks is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Black Female Poets
In the Mecca; Poems, Annie Allen
12
Natasha Trethewey is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Black Female Poets
Native Guard, Bellocq's Ophelia, Thrall: Poems
13
Rita Dove is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Black Female Poets
Thomas and Beulah, On the Bus with Rosa Parks, American Smooth
14
Alice Walker is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Black Female Poets
The Color Purple, Possessing the Secret of Joy, The Temple of My Familiar
15
Phillis Wheatley is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Black Female Poets
Poems of Phillis Wheatley, The collected works of Phillis Wheatley, Poems on Various Subjects
16
Anne Spencer is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Black Female Poets
17
Nikky Finney is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Black Female Poets
Head Off & Split, On wings made of gauze, The world is round
18
Angelina Weld Grimk&eacu... is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Black Female Poets