African American Poets

Sylvia Freeman

Jaki Shelton Green spent her childhood with her nose in a book knowing there was a great big world that awaited her. A native of Orange County, North Carolina, Green was a fidgety child and her grandmother’s solution was to give her a writing pad. This simple gesture meant to keep her still in church, blossomed into a lifelong journey. 

This picture was taken at the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard in 2013. Jaji was rehearsing with her undergrad research partner, Cansu Colakoglu, for a lecture-recital on U.S. and British black composers.
Tony Rinaldo

Duke English professor Tsitsi Jaji remembers the noises of independence outside her window in her home country of Zimbabwe when she was 4 years old. Jaji grew up as a part of Zimbabwe's first legally integrated generation and witnessed the country's recovery from harsh colonial rule.

Image of Nathaniel Mackey, who is one of the country's most respected poets and recently released his new book 'Blue Fasa.'
Andrew Tie

    

Poet Nathaniel Mackey is one of the most respected experimental writers in the country today. In recent years, the Duke professor has received many honors including the Poetry Foundation’s Ruth Lilly Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Book Award and, most recently, Yale University’s Bollingen Prize.

Center for the Study of the American South

  

Anne Spencer's Lynchburg, Virginia house was a sanctuary for African-American artists, writers and intellectuals during the Harlem Renaissance.