The Power of Spoken Words

power of the pen_destiny attagba.jpg


FNN CELEBRATES BLACK HISTORY: FEB. 18, 2014.  Do you like poetry? Do you know of any black poets other than Langston Hughes? Well folks, it’s not a mystery, its black history and this is the month to learn about all of those people you don’t hear about every day. I’m going to tell you about the power of words from three poetry queens and one well known king.

First up is none other than Maya Angelou. Maya Angelou is known for being an author and poet. She is even more known for her seven auto-biographies, the first one being "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings". Her books and poems are a symbol of black defense. We will all love and cherish her most famous poem entitled “Still I Rise”. She’s a phenomenal woman.

Next poet topping the list is Nikki Giovanni. Some of us might not know much about her or read much of her work. She is an excellent writer known for her poems and children’s books: Hip Hop Speaks to Children: A Celebration of Poetry with a Beat and The Grasshoppers Song: An Aesop Fable published in 2008. Her latest children’s book entitled Rosa received the Caldecott Award. Nikki Giovanni is one of the most celebrated female poets. She's best known for her work on topics from segregation, the assassination of Dr. King, the blues and love poems. She has a great style of writing that shows her passion to fight for social justice. She is an English professor at Virginia Tech and has been honored with the NAACP Image Awards.

Last, is the one and only poet from the Harlem Renaissance era, Langston Hughes. Langston Hughes was an American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist. He wrote so many beautiful poems, plays, and books for children using language and themes, attitudes and ideas familiar those that read his work. As we celebrate Black History month, we read many of his poems from “A Dream Deferred,” “I Too Sing America,” and “Mother to Son” to name a few. He believed that art should be accessible to as many people as possible.

This month we celebrate and explore the rich tradition of African American poetry and truly reflect on those who have shown us the power of the pen. These poets are helping our generation take a closer look at being writers, poets, journalist, publishers, and editors. Because of them, WE CAN!

Destiny Attagba is a 4th grade scholar at Friendship Woodridge Academy.