Maybe it's a sign about the rich diversity of the field that the phrase "black poetry" can signal so many different kinds of literary artists. When the subject of black poetry comes up among my colleagues and students, poems by people like Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, Paul Laurence Dunbar, and Margaret Walker are discussed. My colleagues will also mention folks such as Robert Hayden and Lucille Clifton, while my students will ask about Nikki Giovanni and Maya Angelou.
A relatively small number of my colleagues and students have read volumes by contemporary black poets like Elizabeth Alexander, Terrance Hayes, Tracy K. Smith, and Kevin Young. My friends who are contemporary poets themselves, however, are quite familiar with those four poets as well as many others like Cornelius Eady, Marilyn Nelson, Harryette Mullen, and Natasha Trethewey.
Many of the people well-versed on those poets are generally less deep on the spoken word scene, and so are not as familiar with works by Jessica care Moore, Saul Williams, Tracie Morris, and the legions of local artists in various cities.
I write about and study figures who emerged during the black arts era, so it's fascinating that in some contexts, I have extended conversations about contemporary works by Amiri Baraka, Sonia Sanchez, Eugene B. Redmond, Quincy Troupe, and Jayne Cortez, and yet those poets do not come up in some other contexts and conversations about contemporary works by Nikky Finney, Yusef Komunyakaa, and Rita Dove.
The differences between these various strands of black poetry and poets are generational, geographic, medium-based (i.e. print, performance, etc.), and ideological, to name a few. There are, by the way, a number of artists whose work cross-over. You're likely to hear discussion of Amiri Baraka, for example, in multiple contexts. Maya Angelou and Nikki Giovanni, more than any others, are most likely to be known by large numbers of non-poets.
The wide, wide world of black poetry is expansive, diverse, and always, it seems, shifting in various ways.