February is Black History month and we celebrate the outstanding store of works by African American poets. You would certainly enjoy reading and listening to poems by W.E.B. Du Bois, Langston Hughes (also his essays), Harryette Mullen, Lucille Clifton, Countee Cullen, Rita Dove, Wanda Coleman and other celebrated Black poets this month. Black poets have contributed as much depth and cadence to American literature as the blues have shaped and invigorated American music.


by Toussaint St. Negritude

And on the First Day of Love / Jazz made God /and bringing

all Ellingtonations to our Hearts / Jazz said / “God is Good.”

And before the Pope could even cast the first sin /

Jazz turned to God / and blew Lester Young into being.

And Jazz said / “God is beautiful.” And on that First Day of Love /

even before the Republicans hit the scene /

Jazz enumerated all the Freedoms in a single Free Breath /

and Jazz said / “Go forth and multiply / Go on with your fine selves.

Bring Jazz a New Gumbo / Mama needs a new pair of Blues.”

And Jazz said / “God is a Freely Elected Rainbow of Magnanimous

Reflections.” And Bright as the Day is Long / Jazz gave God

the Room to Roam /and down there where the Struggle Shines /

out blew Coltrane’s Song. And Jazz said / “God is On the Phone.”

And on the First Day of Love / Jazz did leave this one embrace

“By all means Extemporaneously / Jazz shall Love You and Love You

and love You / everyday the world turns round.” And Jazz said /

“God is a Sight to See.”

© 2010 by Toussaint St. Negritude

Toussaint St. Negritude comes to Belfast by way of San Francisco, Haiti and Vermont. In addition to his poetry, he is an accomplished clarinetist who has accompanied himself on the street as a player, in the best of our local poetry readings, recently with his own solo set for Belfast New Years Eve by the Bay, and as a juried participant in last year's Belfast Poetry Festival. His works have been published in SOMA Magazine, The San Francisco Bay Guardian and Philadelphia Stories amongst others.

Belfast's Black History Month poetry offering, produced by St. Negritude, will be an open round of local poets reading from the wide breadth of African American poets "in honor of the full contribution of the African American voice." It will occur 7 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 22, at Waterfall Arts in an upstairs classroom. Voluntary donations accepted. It will be most a welcome cabin fever reliever.

Poets Corner is curated by Ellen Sander, the Poet Laureate of Belfast, and open to submissions. Send submissions in the body of an email (not an attachment) to laureate@belfastpoetry.com. Feel free to use that email address to communicate any questions, requests, suggestions or issues about poetry in Belfast. Poet Laureate office hours continue Tuesdays at 1 p.m. in the Belfast Free Library third floor conference room.