By: Akshaya Sivakumar
Poetry: a vast form of artistic expression that many find daunting due to the techniques incorporated into, and championed throughout, any given poem. Similes, metaphors, and personification shine light on the interesting complexities each poem examines and highlight how the art allows poets to express their opinions on a plethora of simple and advanced topics in a splendid way. Two significant poets left a lingering mark on the literary sphere through works that express their opinions on social justice issues an enamoringly elegant way.
Born in 1928, Maya Angelou left a lasting impact on American literature through her famous poems, essays, and autobiographies such as "Phenomenal Woman, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, and And Still I Rise. While these specific poems cover the brutality of social injustice, they also resonate deeply with their readers because of Angelou’s powerful voice and the perspective, inspiration, and courage it provides.
Another figure to tackle social justice issues through poetry was Langston Hughes, an American poet known for his speaking out against racism and oppression via potent poetic pieces. His poems "Harlem" (also known as "A Dream Deferred"), "The Negro Speaks of Rivers", and "I, Too" use numerous literary devices to convey the message of the experiences and struggles Black Americans faced.
To conclude, poetry allows an artist to express their opinions and relay messages that can both awe and inspire readers. The poems of Maya Angelou and Langston Hughes, two prominent poets in American literature, continue to educate on social injustice and resonate in the hearts of their readers today.