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Gil Scott-Heron Performing

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UPDATED: 11:00 a.m. ET, Oct. 7, 2021

Originally Published 12:00 p.m. Oct. 4, 2018

Several influential African-American poets have captivated the nation with their poems for decades and these black poets deserve their flowers. On National Poetry Day, Americans can reflect on their works, from pieces that touch on the past to pieces that provide vivid visions of the future.

RELATED: Read A Book Day: 15 Acclaimed And Unapologetically Black Authors

People who are passionate about poetry can ponder poets’ wise words on this special day. They can read poems, listen to audio or hear poets’ speak at events across the nation. They can celebrate the gift of poetry: the imagery, emotion and messages. National Poetry Day is a chance for a celebration of spoken and written words; it’s an opportunity to let other poets’ works inspire them.

Some of the world’s most influential poets are black. Their works are used in so many forms of entertainment to show our culture and our struggles through word. Gil Scott-Heron’s “Your Soul and Mine,” was recently used in HBO’s latest movie The Many Saints of Newark. The movie also used one of his most popular poems, “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.” The revolutionary poem was a slogan from the Black Power movement in the 1960’s. Herron created the poem to symbolize how the revolution wouldn’t happen in front of the eyes of the oppressor, but instead it would blossom in the hands of the people.

There are many renowned, Pulitzer Prize-winning poets who have won acclaim with their work. Many people appreciate the poems of deceased, legendary poets such as Gwendolyn Brooks, Maya Angelou and Langston Hughes. Hughes might be one of America’s most popular poets, black or white. He frequently took social stances in his art with title’s like Jim Crow’s Last Stand, and Freedom’s Plow.

Many of today’s innovative poets, from Tyehimba Jess to Tracy K. Smith, have also garnered hundreds of fans. Several wordsmiths have become poet laureates, which are government or institution-appointed positions that allow creatives to compose words for special events and occasions. These poets have received several prestigious honors.

Here are 10 influential Black poets who have created works that have changed world. Without their poems life would be boring. Art in words have been the backbone for many art forms like Rap or R&B. Many rappers even contribute their style and flow to prominent poets who lead the way.

1. Saul Williams

ATP Weekender In Camber Sands Curated By TV On The Radio - Day 3

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Williams, who is known for his blend of poetry and alternative hip-hop, is one of the pioneers of spoken word.

2. Haki Madhubuti

45th Annual Legislative Conference Congressional Black Caucus

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Madhubuti is the founder of Third World Press, the country’s oldest black-owned independent publishing house.

3. Nikki Giovanni

12th Annual Afropunk Brooklyn Festival

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Giovanni, who has created several renowned works, was the first recipient of the Rosa Parks Woman of Courage Award.

4. Rita Dove

President Barack Obama presents 2011″ class=”lazyload ” width=”661″ height=”480″ loading=”lazy”>

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Barack Obama presented the National Medal of Arts and Humanities to Dove, an acclaimed poet, in 2011.

5. Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou Speaks At Communiversity

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Angelou, who was also a civil rights activist, is known for several iconic poems such as “Phenomenal Woman.”

6. Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes

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Hughes, who was also a novelist and playwright, was an innovator of the literary art form called jazz poetry.

7. Tracy K. Smith

2018 ALAAnnual Conference & Exhibition

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Smith is the 52nd Poet Laureate of the United States, an office that she took in 2017.

8. Amiri Baraka

Amiri Baraka Performs At Vision Festival XIII

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American poet and activist Amiri Baraka performs on the final evening of Vision Festival XIII at Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center, New York, New York, June 15, 2008. 

9. Gwendolyn Brooks

SF.Poet.1.bv.4–16/VALENCIA –– Pulitzer Prize winning poet Gwendolyn Brooks(cq), right, signs posters

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Brooks was the first African-American to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1950.

10. Tyehimba Jess

Polish Students Strike In Krakow

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Jess, a celebrated poet, won the Pulitzer Prize in 2017.

National Poetry Day: 10 African-American Poets Known For Words Of Wisdom  was originally published on newsone.com

1. Saul Williams

Saul Williams Source:Getty

Williams, who is known for his blend of poetry and alternative hip-hop, is one of the pioneers of spoken word.

2. Haki Madhubuti

Haki Madhubuti Source:Getty

Madhubuti is the founder of Third World Press, the country’s oldest black-owned independent publishing house.

3. Nikki Giovanni

Nikki Giovanni Source:Getty

Giovanni, who has created several renowned works, was the first recipient of the Rosa Parks Woman of Courage Award.

4. Rita Dove

Rita Dove Source:Getty

Barack Obama presented the National Medal of Arts and Humanities to Dove, an acclaimed poet, in 2011.

5. Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou Source:Getty

Angelou, who was also a civil rights activist, is known for several iconic poems such as “Phenomenal Woman.”

6. Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes Source:Getty

Hughes, who was also a novelist and playwright, was an innovator of the literary art form called jazz poetry.

7. Tracy K. Smith

Tracy K. Smith Source:Getty

Smith is the 52nd Poet Laureate of the United States, an office that she took in 2017.

8. Amiri Baraka

Amiri Baraka Source:Getty

American poet and activist Amiri Baraka performs on the final evening of Vision Festival XIII at Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center, New York, New York, June 15, 2008. 

9. Gwendolyn Brooks

Gwendolyn Brooks Source:Getty

Brooks was the first African-American to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1950.

10. Tyehimba Jess

Tyehimba Jess Source:Getty

Jess, a celebrated poet, won the Pulitzer Prize in 2017.