When one typically thinks of poetry, thoughts of Maya Angelou or Nikki Giovanni‘s iconic poems probably come to mind.
Fortunately, the 21st century has introduced the world to a new roster of introspective Black women poets that create beautiful work that motivate the masses, encourages us to love ourselves, and keep us woke.
From Warsan Shire to Alysia Harris, today we’re celebrating World Poetry Day by reflecting on 12 powerful quotes from talented individuals.
For those of you who like motivational Post-it notes, grab a pen.
(Note: A portion of certain poems have been shortened)
“Claim it. All of it. Release what no longer serves you. Journey forward. Be unashamed. Love yourself anyway.” -Alex Elle @alex_elle
“Here you are, Black and Woman and in love with yourself. You are terrifying. They are terrified (as they should be).” –Upile Chisala @beingupileSubscribe to our daily newsletter for the latest in hair, beauty, style and celebrity news.
“I was a woman ahead of her time. I shimmered in the scars. I live in the bloodline. I imagine more than broken families. I come from the laughter as aspiring lovers, the lure of trembling in another’s arms. What about what I wanted?” –Aja Monet’s “What My Grandmother Meant to Say Was” @ajamonet
“A woman died to give me mine. Without her what could I name myself.” –Safia Elhillo’s “Still Lice with My Mother’s Hijab” @safiamafia
“I broke every window in my soul, in order to get your light in. Instead I felt the breeze of God move across me.” -Alysia Nicole Harris @poppyinthewheat
“Body has a way of moving on without you. When the mind says hold on, I finally got something right body goes on, marks time.” –Bettina Judd @bettinajudd
“A guy I met on Tinder took me to see Lionel Richie at Red Rocks Amphitheater I had on 3-inch gold heels stupidly because you have to climb approximately 8,901 steps which slope at a 45 degree angle but redeemed myself by keeping a pair of flats in the car…” -Khadijah Queen @1000twists
“Once a month. Mama visits the things. We used to have. She pays a fee. To keep our stuff. Locked away.” –Amanda Johnston’s “Pawn Shop”
“No one can serve two masters like we can, be future and what they threatened to forget, be Richard Pryor Live on Sunset and be the sunset. Kiss the ground, burn it to the ground, slay dragon, speak dragon. Sometimes it feels like we invented America ourselves.” –Morgan Parker’s “We Are the House That Holds the Table at Which Yes We Will Happily Take a Goddamn Seat after Solange” @morganapple
“I am relieved when I see the feminine presence in a man’s eyes. It means he is a piece I do not have to bring to him.” -Nayyirah Waheed
“You can’t make homes out of human beings. Someone should have already told you that. And if he wants to leave. Then let him leave. You are terrifying. And strange and beautiful. Something not everyone knows how to love.” –Warsan Shire’s “For Women Who Are Difficult to Love” @wu_shire
“When you love yourself, you don’t even have to think about how to be yourself —it just happens.” -Cleo Wade