This Is the Honey: An Anthology of Contemporary Black Poets

Little, Brown. Jan. 2024. 448p. ed. by Kwame Alexander. ISBN 9780316417525. $35. POETRY
Poet Alexander’s (Why Fathers Cry at Night) anthology gathers an astonishing abundance of voices, introducing new poets and also offering a rich gathering of celebrated and familiar voices, beginning with Nikki Giovanni’s exhilarating and deliciously wild revelry about travelling to Mars. Readers will also find poems by Rita Dove, Elizabeth Alexander, Nikki Grimes, Ross Gay, Marilyn Nelson, Yusef Komunyakaa, Jason Reynolds, and Natasha Tretheway, among others. The poems are organized thematically (joy, love, origin, race, resistance, praise) and make for rich browsing. Alexander’s introduction to the volume makes it clear he doesn’t want to pigeonhole Black writers but instead to celebrate the scope and individuality of their work. He refers to this book as an “unbridled selfie,” and here that term seems not self-indulgent or ridiculous but necessary and even thrilling.
VERDICT This amazing anthology may be the most important poetry collection of this decade. It is a book for poetry lovers, a book for the curious, a book of comfort, a book of prayer, a book of passion and a book of joy, a book of sorrow and a book of desire, but in the end, it is simply and wondrously a grand and glorious book.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing