3 Poetry Books You Should Read This Black History Month

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Although black authors only make up a small percentage of UK literature, there are hundreds of exceptional books published every year and in need of the public’s support. Books have always been a tool to assess human conditions and for many centuries, they have provided documentation to attest to different periods of history. 

For this reason, it can be concluded that there is great power in poetry which demands our attention as a collective and also, the act of fortitude as individuals. 

The following poetry books are great examples of recounting explicit realities of certain communities across the country and the feeling of grief as a result. 

POOR - Caleb Femi

‘POOR’ by South London poet Caleb Femi is a book that reflects on life in governmental estates. These buildings in the North of Peckham that have become both a memory and the foundation to Caleb’s perception of the world, carries some of the names of his late friends and block stories reminiscent to where it all started. Since its release in 2020, the book has received much praise by many acclaimed critics and Caleb was awarded as the youngest poet laureate of the country. To this day, ‘POOR’ still evokes a great amount of emotions for the community it serves as a glimpse of reality for outsiders. It would fall under the category of books attesting to time very well.  

A Blood Condition - Kayo Chingonyi    

‘A Blood Condition’ by Kayo Chingonyi is a book that visits the many layers of grief and historical events that affected the social development of black people. Released in 2021, the poem series brought a different understanding to which we hadn’t been exposed to in literature before. Rather than sticking to one specific timeframe, Kayo wandered on subjects that led to the condition of black people today. Carrying a survival guilt in his heart, the man retells important black figures in his past life and also, their well doing. Specifically, the passing of both of his parents and the void that has filled their absence. Evidently, grief holds a range of stages to confront and overcome, and through the words of Kayo, one gets to evaluate their healing process with the company of  someone else.   

Manorism - Yomi Sode 

‘Manorism’ by Yomi Sode is the latest poetry book about the black experience to be published. Initially released on July 7th, 2022 through the Penguins publishing house, the poetry book was quickly established as a moment to remember. Much like his peers, Yomi brought out a lot of important points to the treatment of black people across the UK. Bringing up the brutality of police officers witnessed on camera and the constant racist remarks made by white colleagues, Yomi was able to lay everything down on the table and give us a glimpse of some of the black men’ struggles in modern age. The book offers insight to the life of a man constantly being targeted for the skin of his colour. At times, it translates into violence however, it also occurs in the lens of non-black partners taking advantage of their blackness. Nonetheless, Yomi takes you on a rollercoaster far from boredom and reveals the intimate side of his personality.