DAR Legends: 8 Legendary Poets

(Compiled By @TrueGodimmortal, @CherchezLaPorsh, & @JADBeats)

Poetry is the essence of expression in many ways. For many of us, it's why we identified with hip hop music so well and why we hold spoken word to such a high standard. With poetry being such a form of artistic expression, I wanted to take the time to gather the team up and discuss the best of the best in terms of poets. We all got to choose poets that are our personal favorites and who are legends. Who makes this list of legendary poets? Let's find out.

*The Last Poets
(Chosen By @TrueGodImmortal)

-For me, these poets are some of the most revolutionary of all time and they aren't your traditional poets. Mastering the art of spoken word over smooth music, these poets are the voice of the revolution during the 70s. They exhibit brilliance in their words and an ability to speak to the struggle and the reality of the black experience. Their most prized works include are "Ni**ers Are Scared Of Revolution", "When The Revolution Comes", and "White Man's Got A God Complex", all of which paint vivid pictures of the times. I don't think there are any other poets that I can personally identify with quite like The Last Poets.

(Chosen By @CherchezLaPorsh)

-Dante is probably one of the most famous Italians ever.  I barely ever hear this name mentioned and I often wonder if Dante gets enough credit for what he contributed in the way of poetry, literature, and language. Since his works date back to the late 1200’s, it’s difficult to trace exactly how he became such a profound writer. Little is known about his education (formal or non) but Dante had sound knowledge of many dialects of Italian and was able to write in a more simplistic manner that appealed to a much broader (global) audience. He is also credited for having invented tercets, which is a rhyme pattern spread across sets of three lines and linking words above and below it to create a specific pattern. His most famous work “The Divine Comedy” utilized this extensively. As if that wasn’t enough to cement him as the greatest of all time (which he is widely considered), he also created some of the best literary works of all time in “The Banquet”, “The New Life” and so many others. He takes readers on his own personal journeys and his love for Beatrice (who he never married) amongst other subject matters. Dante’s work isn’t for everyone but no matter what your preference is, his impact and greatness is undeniable. 

*Maya Angelou
(Chosen By @JADBeats)

-Maya Angelou was full of many talents and passions. As soon as black history month was being taught in school, I became aware of her work. Hearing her recite poetry was soothing, hopeful and inspiring. She shows all of that in one of my favorites from her which might be the first piece I've heard from her with "Caged Bird" where she uses that as a metaphor to talk about her dealing with racism. Another one that is infamous is "Still I Rise",  which you can't help but read and feel like nothing can stop you. Maya Angelou is without a doubt a legendary poet and deserves all of the recognition.

*Khalil/Kahlil Gibran
(Chosen By @CherchezLaPorsh)

-Another great poet is Khalil Gibran, although his talents and works extend into painting, philosophy, theology, and visual arts. Still, it’s his writing and poetry I personally love the most. Poetry has always been used to explain the concept and feeling of love, but Gibran does it with eloquence. He uses concepts and comparisons with such vivid imagery that it is so captivating. His most notable works are “The Prophet”, “The Earth Gods” and “Broken Wings” amongst so many others. What sets Gibran apart from other love-sick poets is his perfect balance of emotion and logic which made his poems appeal and connect to both men and women of any age. He somehow was able to make the most relatable and inexplicable feeling so easy to express and so tangible. 

(Chosen By @CherchezLaPorsh & @JADBeats)

-And of course my (Porsha) favorite poet of all time is Rumi. He is someone who lived a very interesting and complex life and had knowledge that was (somewhat) rare in the 1200’s. Most known for his mysticism and poetry which were rooted in religion, Rumi also excelled at capturing the essence of love, the soul and of course creation and the universe. His poems are laced with whimsical concepts and often require historic references to understand. He’s not for everybody but anyone who appreciates poetry in its purest form would appreciate his work. It’s difficult to summarize someone like Rumi in a paragraph because of his complexity but he was and still is a gem in the literary world. 

Rumi has such great poems & quotes. I (JADBeats) honestly didn't know about him until a few years ago and his popularity in the U.S along with being the best selling poet. One of my favorites of his is simply about music, titled "Remembered Music". Here's why it's one or my favorites. Just read below.

"'Tis said, the pipe and lute that charm our ears
Derive their melody from rolling spheres
But Faith, o'erpassing speculation's bound
Can see what sweetens every jangled sound
We, who are parts of Adam, heard with him
The song of angels and of seraphim
Out memory, though dull and sad, retains
Some echo still of those unearthly strains
Oh, music is the meat of all who love
Music uplifts the soul to realms above
The ashes glow, the latent fires increase
We listen and are fed with joy and peace"

*The Watts Prophets
(Chosen By @TrueGodImmortal)

-If I had to pick another group of poets that I appreciate, it would have to be another set of black revolutionary poets, The Watts Prophets. Alongside other names that I enjoy like Nikki Giovanni and The Last Poets, their poetry was an artistic form of revolutionary expression and featured music as an accompaniment, with jazz and funk elements added in. It's no surprise that my picks for this article are all revolutionary poets who infused musical element within it, but the truth is, they all inspired me growing up. Their most prolific works are Rappin' Black In A White World and The Black Voices: On The Streets Of Watts, but their impact is still important today and they were even featured on a Red Hot Chili Peppers album in 1994, showing their impact stretched decades. If you're not familiar with The Watts Prophets, just a bit of research will open your eyes.

*Langston Hughes
(Chosen By @JADBeats)

-Langston Hughes an activist, playwriter, author, a leader during the Harlem Renaissance and one of the first to come out with that jazzy blues style of poetry. One of his great works is "Dream Deferred" where he speaks on what it may feel like to put your dreams on hold and how the oppression of african americans is doing just that. He has another one called "Dreams" where he speaks on how important it is to hold on to your dream because without them there's really no life. Here is an excerpt from one of my favorites.

"Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly
Hold fast to dreams for when dreams go
Life is a barren field, frozen with snow"

*Nikki Giovanni
(Chosen By @TrueGodImmortal)

-There are so many amazing female poets in our history, but I think my favorite has to be Nikki Giovanni. She's one of the brightest poetic voices in the history of our culture, and over the years, she's captured the attention and the love of our community by putting truth into her writings and honest depictions of life. She was one of the biggest names in the Black Arts Movement of the Civil Rights era, and her early work is that of a more revolutionary and militant tone, which is why she makes my list. Her 1997 release Love Poems might be her most infamous work, but there is over 40 years worth of work to speak to her legacy. She is one of the most amazing poets ever and a true legend.



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