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'Reflect the times,' Black poets becoming more visible in Boston and beyond

Black poets becoming more visible in Boston and beyond
Black poets becoming more visible in Boston and beyond 01:57

ROXBURY - Poetry. Words turned into emotion, turned into art, turned into healing. For Boston's Black community, poetry has been a way of connecting for decades.

"Like Nina Simone said, we as artists, it is our duty to reflect the times that we're living in. So if this is the time that we're living in, our art is definitely going to reflect that," Roxbury poet Amanda Shea told WBZ-TV.

We sat down with Shea who told us she's seen more Black poets opening up in their work and being honest about what they're going through as Black people in society.

"I just feel like people are not afraid to speak about the social climate, the things that are happening internally, some of their feelings, mental health issues," she explained.

There's been a recent increase in the visibility of Black poets. Think of all the recognition that Amanda Gorman received after reading one of her poems at President Biden's inauguration. 

Shea narrated a WBZ Boston Marathon commercial, dedicated to the first woman to ever run the race, Katherine Switzer. Switzer saw the commercial and wrote a letter to WBZ praising Amanda's work.

"Who knew that spoken word could be in a Boston Marathon commercial? It's those types of strides that really inspire me to keep on going," Shea added.

Both Boston's Youth Poet Laureate and Poet Laureate are Black women. Boston Poet Laureate Porsha Olayiwola was featured in a city tourism campaign.

"Folks have always been doing the work. Folks have always existed and have been writing incredible poems and the world is just catching up slowly," Olayiwola told WBZ.

Porsha told us that the Black experience has allowed poets to create pieces that are revolutionary but also impact the landscape of poetry.

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