Poems suitable for Black History Month celebrate changes that have occurred, as in "Booker T. and W.E.B." by Dudley Randall and Lucille Clifton's "Won't you celebrate with me?" Other fitting poems discuss past events. These include "Ma Rainey" by Sterling A. Brown, "For My People" by Margaret Walker, "Letter to Brooks: Spring Garden" by Major Jackson and "Lonely Eagles" by Marilyn Nelson.Know More
Poems that observe the world and call for action are appropriate for Black History Month. Examples of these are "My Country ’Tis of Thee" by W.E.B. Du Bois, "Elliptical" by Harryette Mullen and "Caged Bird" by Maya Angelou.
Some poems explore individual characters, such as Terrance Hayes' "Ode to Big Trend," Melvin B. Tolson's "The Birth of John Henry" and Cornelius Eady's "Nina's Blues." Others explore relationships between men and women, as in "Unholy Women" by Chris Abani, "A Negro Love Song" by Paul Laurence Dunbar and "Lothar’s Wife" by Colleen J. McElroy.
Poems like "Skinny-Dippin’ in the Gene Pool" by Thulani Davis," "Black Boys Play the Classics" by Toi Derricotte and "I, Too" by Langston Hughes consider contemporary situations. "Praise Song for the Day," written by Elizabeth Alexander for Barack Obama’s presidential inauguration, also fits into this category. By contrast, traditions are explored in Honorée Fanonne Jeffers' "The Gospel of Barbecue."Learn more about Poetry
The poem "homage to my hips" by Lucille Clifton is meant to convey the author's embrace of her femininity and her body. She uses metaphors throughout the poem to convey her acceptance of her own body and to urge other women to do the same. The poem also challenges social norms that apply to women and the beauty ideal. Additionally, Clifton alludes to the need for empowering women.Full Answer >
In his poem "Ballad of Birmingham," Dudley Randall uses irony to show how the racist regime of the Jim-Crow-era South made even the safest places dangerous. The poem also uses dramatic irony to heighten the tragedy of the Birmingham bombing of 1963.Full Answer >
Narrative poems tell a story about characters progressing through a plot in verse form. Narrative poems were often told or performed verbally for an audience. For example, the "Epic of Gilgamesh" and the "Iliad" are about great deeds of heroes, whereas the American folk song "Jesse James" is a ballad. Alexander Pope's "The Rape of the Lock" represents a mock-epic narrative poem.Full Answer >
Healthy foods have been tantalizing subjects for many poems, such as "Salad" by Virgil, "Ode to the Tomato" by William Bingham Tappan and "The Pumpkin Poem" by John Greenleaf Whittier. Gastronomical musings usually refer to fulfillment and satisfaction, as well as love or loss.Full Answer >