February is Black Poetry Writing Month!

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We want a black poem. And a
Black World.
Let the world be a Black Poem
And Let All Black People Speak This Poem
Silently
or LOUD
From “Black Art” by Amiri Baraka

 

I love February because it’s Black History Month, and contrary to what people like Stacy Dash may say, Black History Month is a time for African Americans (and truly ALL Americans) to come together and remember how far we’ve come and how much further we still must go.

During Black History Month, we learn about the brilliant black artists, scientists, activists, philosophers, inventors, abolitionists, teachers, etc. who lead the fight to break the chains of chattel slavery, and paved the way for all African Americans to be something greater— lawyers, doctors, CEOs, the President of the United States! It teaches young black children in the hoods and in the suburbs that no matter their circumstances, oppression, discrimination, and prejudice will not hold them back from accomplishing their dreams.

Still, we rise! 

It would only make sense that a project like Black Poetry Writing Month would occur during Black History Month, as throughout history, poetry has played a major role in bringing the Black Experience to the forefront and in contributing to the advancement of the African American. Think of great poets like Phillis Wheatley, Paul Lawrence Dunbar, Countee Cullen, Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, Lucille Clifton, Maya Angelou, and so many others.

As an African American writer, I strive to be like the literary pioneers of the generations before me, which is why I’m so ecstatic to kick off a tradition that I hope will continue for years to come and one day be as popular as NaNoWriMo and NaPoWriMo.

Black Poetry Writing Month (BlaPoWriMo) is a challenge for writers to pen a poem a day during the month of February that focuses on race or the Black Experience in America and/or the African diaspora (past or present). You don’t have to be black to join the movement. Just dip the quill into ink and join the hashtag #BlaPoWriMo!

I’m excited to see the poems you create. I will also be sharing some of my own as well as posting an optional prompt for each day of the month.

Use the hashtag #BlaPoWriMo, and you’ll get a retweet from me! You can also follow me on twitter (@Nortina_Mariela), or follow the twitter page I created for this inspiring project (@BlaPoWriMo) to get the latest updates and to read the contributions of fellow poets and writers.

Thank you to everyone who decides to participate. Let’s aim to get #BlaPoWriMo trending all month long!

—Nortina

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