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In a 2019 interview for her book Magical Negro, Morgan Parker says of her work as a poet:

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I think the space of the poem really lends itself to exploring all the levels of Black culture. That’s really what I’m aiming to do, is explore the simultaneity of Blackness, and a multiplicity of Blackness, the way that the past and present interact with each other and inform each other, and the way they’re both situated at the front of our brains as Black people.

Here are ten poems that explore past and present, pain and love, language and family, history and identity, all written by contemporary Black poets. They’re each available for free download:

“Let Me Handle My Business, Damn,” Morgan Parker

“Hymn to a Hurricane,” Rachel Eliza Griffiths

“No Cap,” Hanif Abdurraqib

“upon viewing the death of basquiat,” Mahogany L. Browne

“A Man of Thirty-Five, Smooth and White, Slight, Well-Bred, and Masterful,” Simone White

“enough food and a mom,” Francine J. Harris

“When I Grow Up, I Want to Be a Martyr,” Cortney Lamar Charleston

“I’d Come Back from the Grave to Celebrate the End of Capitalism,” Nikki Wallschlaeger

“Naturalized Citizen,” Hafizah Geter

“When the Neighbors Fight,” Terrance Hayes

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