I was talking about poetry with one of the young women in our program at our Politically Inspiring Black Women exhibit this past Thursday. At one point, I mentioned the poet Jessica Care Moore, and she said that she was not aware of her.
My student is a developing poet, and I told her she would want to know of someone like Moore. Remind me, I said, to email you later with a few reasons why. When she followed up, I responded with:
5 Reasons You Want to Know about Jessica Care Moore
Lil sister, peace.
It’s your first year of college, and really, you’ve been in school for less than a month. So, despite my jokes about your middle school and high school teachers failing to inform you about “our history and culture,” it’s somewhat understandable that you and your peers would not know each and every black poet and novelist that I mention. You’ve certainly read and written more than I had at your age.
Anyway, I wanted to follow-up on my mention of the poet Jessica Care Moore. I came up with 5 reasons that you’ll want to know about a poet like her.
1. Jessica Moore is a talented and powerful poet who serves as a model for the kinds of moves that you’ll someday make. Studying some of what she’s been able to accomplish as a poet and performer might be instructive.
2. Like you, Moore – as evidenced in the content and delivery of her poems – is interested in music, black history, hip fly style, black women’s empowerment, politics, and making big things happen in the world.
3. Moore is a fairly young poet and can provide us with links to old-school established poets like Sonia Sanchez, Nikki Giovanni, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Margaret Walker. Moore also serves as a useful complement and alternative to contemporary poets such as Nikky Finney, Elizabeth Alexander, Natasha Trethewey, and Evie Shockley, (all poets you’ll also want to read up on at some point).
4. Moore is on the ingenuity, self-determination tips. She started her own publishing company – Moore Black Press – and has published her own volumes of poetry as well as works by other writers, including Saul Williams and Asha Bandele.
5. Moore wrote this wonderful poem “The Black Statue of Liberty” back in the day. Her performance of the piece at “Showtime at the Apollo” was vital in giving spoken word poetry more recognition on the national stage, so to speak. Check out her performance here. I wrote a few notes about the history and significance of her performance here.
By the way, the Black Studies Program has volumes of poetry by African American poets, so let me know if you want to check any of them out, and we'll make it happen.
Take it light.