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National Poetry Day - Black History Month

National Poetry Day - Black History Month

In the month of October we observe Black History Month in the UK, and this National Poetry Day, we're celebrating some incredible Black LGBTQ+ poets and their important and fascinating works.

National Poetry Day is the annual mass celebration on the first Thursday of October that encourages all to enjoy, discover and share poetry.

We’ve put together a round-up of talented Black LGBTQ+ poets that we think you should know about, from the legacy of Audre Lorde to the incredible work of local poet and creative mandla rae - check out these fantastic poets that we think you’ll love and be sure to read up on and support their work!

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Audre Lorde

A self-described “black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet,” Audre Lorde dedicated both her life and her creative talent to confronting and addressing injustices of racism, sexism, classism, and homophobia.

“Concerned with modern society’s tendency to categorize groups of people, Lorde fought the marginalization of such categories as “lesbian” and “black woman.” She was central to many liberation movements and activist circles, including second-wave feminism, civil rights and Black cultural movements, and struggles for LGBTQ equality. In particular, Lorde’s poetry is known for the power of its call for social and racial justice, as well as its depictions of queer experience and sexuality.” - Poetry Foundation




Jackie Kay


Jackie Kay was born to a Scottish mother and Nigerian father in Edinburgh, 1961, and was adopted as a baby by Helen and John Kay. Jackie draws on her unconventional upbringing in her poetry, and her first collection of poems, The Adoption Papers (Bloodaxe, 1991), was immediately recognised as an outstanding debut and won several awards. This collection of poetry touches on topics of identity, race, nationality, gender, and sexuality from the perspectives of three women: an adopted biracial child, her adoptive mother, and her biological mother. Her next adult collection, Other Lovers (1993) also revolved around a quest for identity, but this time particularly with regard to colonial histories and slavery. Jackie is Professor of Creative Writing at Newcastle University and is also Chancellor of the University of Salford. Find out more about Jackie Kay and her fantastic work here.




Alice Moore Dunbar-Nelson

Born free in New Orleans, Alice Moore Dunbar-Nelson was part of the first generation of black Americans not born into slavery in the South. Nelson was bisexual, mixed race, and wrote across multiple literary genres. Her first book of poetry and short stories, Violets and Other Tales, was published when she was 20. She is also the author of The Goodness of St. Rocque and Other Stories (1899) and was an influential figure in the Harlem Renaissance.




James Baldwin

James Baldwin was an American novelist, playwright, essayist, poet, and activist. His essays, collected in Notes of a Native Son, explore intricacies of racial, sexual, and class distinctions in the USA during the mid twentieth-century.

“As Juan Williams noted in the Washington Post, long before Baldwin’s death, his writings ‘became a standard of literary realism. ... Given the messy nature of racial hatred, of the half-truths, blasphemies and lies that make up American life, Baldwin’s accuracy in reproducing that world stands as a remarkable achievement. ... Black people reading Baldwin knew he wrote the truth. White people reading Baldwin sensed his truth about the lives of black people and the sins of a racist nation.’” - Poetry Foundation




mandla rae


mandla rae is a Queer, Zimbabwean and agender writer, performer and creative and has no pronouns. Floating through the intersections of race, gender, sexuality, (lack of) mental health, class & foreign-ness - mandla is a leaf of love. Check out @mandla_rae on Twitter to stay up to date on new work and performances!




Maz Hedgehog

Maz Hedgehog is a writer, spoken word poet and educator based in Manchester whose debut chapbook, Vivat Regina, was published as part of Superbia’s Chapbook series in February 2019. This debut chapbook riffs upon classical literature and folklore and is an exploration of duty and freedom, and a rich fantasia of magical beasts and beings. Find out more about Maz’s work here.




Kenya Sterling


As part of the Superbia Chapbook Series in 2019, Superbia was also proud to support talented writer, Kenya Sterling, with the release of their chapbook 19 Years of Skin: Poems and monologues. Featuring searing poetry and pithy monologues developed both for the stage and the page, the collection takes risks, explores the fragility of gender and identity, and celebrates life despite hardship.

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Manchester Pride campaigns for the advancement of LGBTQ+ equality; celebrates LGBTQ+ life and creates opportunities that engage LGBTQ+ people so that they can thrive.

We are committed to supporting the fight to end racial prejudice, violence and discrimination, both here in Manchester and around the world. It's so important to us that we continue to support and uplift Black queer people & artists in our projects and initiatives all year round, all of the time.

Superbia is Manchester Pride's calendar of cultural events. Superbia supports and celebrates LGBTQ+ art & artists and curates, funds and celebrates LGBTQ+ events across Greater Manchester – all with the aim of encouraging engagement and well-being and culturally enhancing the community.

Find out more about Superbia at Superbia.org.uk.
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