Black Voices

  • A photograph of a winged figure looking upward into a perfectly white sky
       By Nick Makoha
    October 11, 2021 | Nick Makoha
    Photo by J. Triepke / Flickr Series editor’s note: The speaker in Nick Makoha’s poem is an unexpected one: Icarus, coming back to reclaim his narrative, approaching Basquiat with a si...
  • A soft-edged painting of a landscape under moonlight with stars or fireflies hanging in the mid-ground
    September 28, 2021 | Kamilah Aisha Moon
    Photo by Parée / Flickr Editorial noteWLT mourns the loss of Kamilah Aisha Moon, whose poem, “Fireflies,” was included in the Black Voices series this year. We hope her lig...
  • A photograph of mature plants in a wheat field, under a cloud-dotted blue sky
       By Romeo Oriogun
    September 23, 2021 | Romeo Oriogun
    Photo by Igor Karimov / Unsplash Series editor’s note: In this week’s poem, the speaker finds himself to be on the outside, looking in with an ever-watchful gaze, pondering all the wa...
  • A pregnant woman standing in profile, mostly in silhouette, in front of a draped window
       By Arao Ameny
    September 16, 2021 | Arao Ameny
    Photo by Mulyadi / Unsplash Series editor’s note: The poem this week, “The Mothers,” by Arao Ameny, is less of a poem and more of an offering, a wanting; here is a space where the spe...
  • A photograph of a forest with the sun just barely coming through the canopy
       By Ariana Benson
    August 25, 2021 | Ariana Benson
    Photo by Simone Dalmeri / Unsplash Series editor’s note: With the opening poems of the 2021 series, Ariana Benson resurrects vivid, fleshy worlds, in which Black boys are immersed in...
  • Spray painted words adorn the side of a boarded up building. Text reads: Stop killing black people. Black Lives Matter. No justice. No peace.
    August 25, 2021 | Mahtem Shiferraw
    Photo by Mahtem Shiferraw When the social uprisings shook the country last summer and reverberated throughout the globe in an astonishingly collapsing wave, we had already been cut a thousand...
  • A photograph of an orange hued landscape as seen through a rain-swept window
       By Chris Abani
    October 9, 2020 | Chris Abani
    Photo by Nebojsa Mladjenovic / Flickr Series editor’s note: In Chris Abani’s poem “Ritual Is Journey,” the black man has been laid bare on the page, his histories refocused, and thoug...
  • A surreal collage of human hands grasping hair with flesh like appendages hanging down from the cluster
       By Aracelis Girmay
    October 2, 2020 | Aracelis Girmay
    Detail from a photograph of the author’s great-great-grandmother and a photograph of her mother, age eleven. Image courtesy of the author Series editor’s note: In Aracelis Girmay’s ne...
  • A close-up detail of Nina Simone's eyes
       By Jamaica Baldwin
    September 23, 2020 | Jamaica Baldwin
    Nina Simone Sings the Blues (RCA Victor, 1967) Series editor’s note: In Jamaica Baldwin’s “Windfall,” the self is buried beneath layers and layers of internalized memories, b...
  • A girl holds a taut wire above her head with deep space in the background
       By Ladan Osman
    September 11, 2020 | Ladan Osman
    “Girl and a Margin” Image: Ladan Osman. Collage: Joe Penney. Series editor’s note: In Ladan Osman’s piece “Dark Matter Girls,” the poet quietly asks herself, and by extension us, how...
  • A photograph of a stained glass window from inside a darkened room with the color and light through the window projecting on to the floor
    August 26, 2020 | Jehan L. Roberson
    Photo by Daniel McCullough / Unsplash Series editor’s note: What happens in the aftermath of a long, ravaging war? What happens to folks whose country is always at war with them? Thes...
  • A colorful photograph of deep space
       By Major Jackson
    August 19, 2020 | Major Jackson
    Photo by Jeremy Thomas / Unsplash Series editor’s note: In Major Jackson’s new poem, “Think of Me, Laughing,” we meet a speaker who is well-acquainted with the habits of sorrow of inh...
  • A black and white photograph of a person jogging toward the camera on a long suspension bridge
       By Ashia Ajani
    August 13, 2020 | Ashia Ajani
    Photo by Jo / Flickr Series editor’s note: In Ashia Ajani’s poem “Running,” the Black body finds itself outdoors, not as a means of escape, rather as a place of exodus, where it can s...
  • A close up photograph of the texture of a teal cloth
       By Saddiq Dzukogi
    August 5, 2020 | Saddiq Dzukogi
    Photo by Mitchell Luo / Unsplash Series editor’s note: In Saddiq Dzukogi’s new poem, the speaker observes as a snake shows up unannounced, unsummoned, and sluggishly inserts its head...
  • A closeup photograph of a head of kale
       By Hope Wabuke
    July 22, 2020 | Hope Wabuke
    Photo by Erda Estremera / Unsplash Series editor’s note: What does it mean for a body to remember its feeding, to have to reckon with its darkest days, days spent eating weeds in the...
  • A photograph of a bright yellow flower with a florescent blue center
       By Safia Elhillo
    July 15, 2020 | Safia Elhillo
    Photo by Dustin Humes on Unsplash Series editor’s note: I’ve always thought of poetry as a sacred ground to think and write about things we wouldn’t normally do. And in the case of Sa...
  • A painting of two tall cliffs, rendered in yellow
    July 8, 2020 | Matthew Shenoda
    "Abstract Yellow Cliffs," Acrylics, 73x50cm by Kazuya Akimoto. Used with permission from the artist. Series editor’s note: In Matthew Shenoda’s new poem, “Seeing,” the writer turns to...
  • A black and white photo of a masked protestor with his hands up
    June 24, 2020 | Kwame Dawes
    Photo by Koshu Kunii / Unsplash Series editor’s note: Kwame Dawes’s poem is a powerful piece to start off the Black Voices series, and one that fits perfectly into the outrage of the...
  • Spray painted words adorn the side of a boarded up building. Text reads: Stop killing black people. Black Lives Matter. No justice. No peace.
    June 24, 2020 | Mahtem Shiferraw
    Photo by Mahtem Shiferraw In the aftermath of the senseless deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, and many others before them, it is difficult to think we can sti...

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