Mari Evans work:

Who Can Be Born Black?

I am a Black Woman

The Rebel

Where Have You Gone



BIO: Evans was born in Toledo, Ohio on July 16, 1923.. She was raised in a very traditional black family. She attended the University of Toledo, and has been married and divorced. Evans pursued a career in teaching, lecturing on literature and writing in several schools in the Midwest and East including Indiana University and Purdue. Mari Evans wrote, produced and directed a television program called "The Black Experience" for an Indianapolis television station. She won many awards for her poetry. These awards include the Indiana University Writers' Conference award, the Black Academy of Arts and Letters' first annual poetry award. Shee wrote a play "River of My Song", which was produced in 1977 and in 1979, the musical "Eyes" (an adaptation of Their Eyes Were Watching God ( by Zora Neale Hurston). Evans published two collections of poetry,
"Nightstar:1973-1978" (in 1981) and "A Dark and Splendid Mass" (in 1992). She is also a editor to other literature collections. Some of Evans' poetry has even been choreographed and used on records albums, filmstrips and the off-Broadway productions, "A Hand Is on the Gate" and "Walk Together Children".

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Snally Gaster's African American Phat Library Experience

Not enough poems here? Email me your favorite works of the masters (no amateurs please).


Celebration (1993)

I will bring you a whole person
and you will bring me a whole person
and we will have us tiwce as much 
of love and everything

I be bringing a whole heart
and while it do have nicks and 
dents and scars, 
that oly make me lay it down 
more careful-like
An; you be bringing a whole heart
a little chipped and rusty an'
sometime skip a beat but 
still an' all you bringing polish too
and look like you intend 
to make it shine

And we be brinigng, each of us
the music of ourselves to wrap
the other in

    Forgiving clarities
    Soft as a choir's last
    lingering note our
    personal blend

I will be bringing you someone whole
and you will be bringing me someone whole
    and we be twice as strong
        and we be twice as true
and we will have twice as much 
    of love
        and everything


Who Can Be Born Black?

can be born black
and not
the wonder of it
the joy

And/to come together
in a coming togetherness
vibrating with the fires of pure knowing
reeling with power
ringing with the sound above sound above sound
to explode/in the majesty of our oneness
our comingtogether
in a comingtogetherness

can be born
and not exult!


I am a Black Woman

I am a black woman
the music of my song
some sweet arpeggio of tears
is written in a minor key
and I
can be heard humming in the night
Can be heard
in the night

I saw my mate leap screaming to the sea
and I/with these hands/cupped the lifebreath
from my issue in the canebrake
I lost Nat's swinging body in a rain of tears
and heard my son scream all the way from Anzio
for Peace he never knew....I
learned Da Nang and Pork Chop Hill
in anguish
Now my nostrils know the gas
and these trigger tire/d fingers
seek the softness in my warrior's beard

I am a black woman
tall as a cypress
beyond all definition still
defying place
and time
and circumstance
on me and be


The Rebel

When I
I'm sure
I will have a
BIg Funeral ...

seekers ...
coming to see
if I
am really
Dead ...
or just
trying to make
Trouble ...



Where Have You Gone

Where have you gone

with your confident
walk with
your crooked smile

why did you leave
when you took your
and departed
are you aware that
with you
went the sun
all light
and what few stars
there were?

where have you gone
with your confident
walk your
crooked smile the
rent money
in one pocket and
my heart
in another . . .