In 1996 The Academy of American Poets established April as National Poetry Month. Certainly poetry deserves celebration given its demonstrated ability to educate, inspire and provoke critical thought.
In honor of this month, I’d like to share some of my favorite poems. I hope you enjoy!
1.Braggadocious by Agyei Tyehimba
I wrote the following poem “Braggadocious,” inspired by my homeroom class of 8th grade students back in 1997. As a Hip Hop fan and practitioner, I sometimes allowed students to present their poetry toward the end of class (provided that we covered our material, of course). They were talented poets, but much of their Hip Hop material was braggaocious. Emulating their favorite Hip Hop artists,these thirteen year-olds bragged about money, cars, girls, and street credibility none of them really possessed! I decided it would be interesting to write a poem in which I bragged about my words. :
2. I’m Every Man in Here by Talaam Acey
3. The Ugly Show by Black Ice
4. Still I Rise by Maya Angelou
5. Egotripping by Nikki Giovanni (Someone else is performing it)
6. King Heroin by James Brown
7. Bring Back Segregation by Kasim Allah
8. Like, You Know by Taylor Mali
9. Somebody Blew up America by Amiri Baraka
Agyei Tyehimba is a former NYC public schoolteacher, co-founder of KAPPA Middle School 215 in the Bronx, NY, and co-author of the Essence Bestselling book, Game Over: The Rise and Transformation of a Harlem Hustler, published in 2007 by Simon & Schuster. Agyei has appeared on C-Span, NY1 News, and most recently on the A&E documentary, “The Mayor of Harlem: Alberto ‘Alpo’ Martinez.” Mr. Tyehimba is a professional consultant and public speaker providing political advice and direction for Black college student organizations, community activist groups, and nonprofit organizations. If you are interested in bringing Agyei to speak or provide consultation for your organization, please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.