National Poetry Month: The Art of WORDS!

The art of words — a wordsmith — gifted with the art of writing! National Poetry Month is April 2024. It is a time to celebrate the power and beauty of poetry, while also acknowledging the diverse voices that have contributed to the rich tapestry of literary expression. In this article, we shine a spotlight on Black writers from Georgia, both deceased and living, who have made significant contributions to the world of poetry. Their works have not only captivated readers but have also challenged societal norms and provided a platform for the exploration of identity, history, and social justice.

Langston Hughes (1902-1967)
Langston Hughes stands as one of the most influential figures in American literature. Born in Joplin, Missouri, Hughes spent a significant portion of his life in Georgia. His poetry, characterized by its lyrical intensity and poignant social commentary, captured the experiences of African Americans during the Harlem Renaissance. Works like “The Weary Blues” and “Montage of a Dream Deferred” continue to inspire readers and illuminate the struggles and triumphs of the Black community.

Alice Walker (1944-2022)
Although primarily known for her groundbreaking novel “The Color Purple,” Alice Walker was also a prolific poet. Born in Eatonton, Georgia, Walker’s poetry explores themes of feminism, spirituality, and African American heritage. Her collection “Once” received critical acclaim for its exploration of love, loss, and resilience. Through her words, Walker challenged societal norms and advocated for social justice, equity and equality.

Jericho Brown
Jericho Brown is an award-winning poet and professor, currently serving as the director of the Creative Writing Program at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. His collection “The Tradition” won the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. Brown’s poems delve into the complexities of identity, sexuality, and race, while also addressing themes of love, trauma, and memory. His powerful and evocative writing has earned him widespread recognition and numerous accolades.

Natasha Trethewey
Natasha Trethewey, born in Gulfport, Mississippi, and raised in Georgia, is a renowned poet and former United States Poet Laureate. Her works often explore the intersections of personal and historical narratives, particularly those related to race, family, and the American South. Trethewey’s collection “Native Guard” won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, and her poetry continues to resonate with readers, offering a nuanced reflection on the complexities of identity and heritage.