I've been looking over the various "best of 2011" book lists that have been appearing. Volumes of poetry appear less frequently on those lists, but you can find some, and there are some "best of poetry" lists out there.
Here are a few volumes by African American poets that I noticed on lists.
Yusef Komunyakaa's The Chameleon Couch appears in the "poetry" section of the 2011 round-up list on the St. Louis Post-Dispatch site.
Evie Shockley's the new black and Tracy K. Smith's Life on Mars appear in The Library Journal's best books of poetry list.
Smith's book also appears on The New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2011; her book also appeared on the 2011 poetry list for Publishers Weekly.
Harmony Holiday's volume Negro Baseball League appears on Joshua Marie Wilkinson's Best Poetry Books of 2011 for No Tell.
Shockley's the new black appears on Megan Kaminski Best of Poetry Books of 2011 for No Tell.
Rachel Eliza Griffiths's Mule & Pear was selected by Roxane Gay for her list of notable books for 2011 for The Rumpus. (Gay opens with observations about the limits of lists in general).
Kevin Young's Ardency: A Chronicle of the Amistad Rebels is highlighted in MIichael Brodeur's best poetry books of 2011 for The Boston Globe. Brodeur also includes Carl Phillips's Double Shadow on his list.
Nikky Finney's Head Off & Split and Reginald Shepherd's Red Clay Weather appear on Don Share's best poetry books of 2011 for The Boston Globe.
Yusef Komunyakaa's The Chamelon Couch is on Valerie Duff's best poetry books of 2011 for The Boston Globe.