This collection is a collaboration between The Poetry Archive and the Obsidian Foundation to recognise the importance of the inspirations, stories and social and cultural commentary that British Black Poets bring to the UK's poetry landscape. All the poems featured in this collection have been selected by the poets themselves.

The collection provides poets, teachers and visitors everywhere with an exceptional resource. It will introduce new poets and raise their profiles amongst new audiences.

This permanent collection will continue to grow into the future as the Obsidian Foundation continues its work to develop new poetic voices. We know you will love these voices and celebrate the joy and inspirations to be found here.

New to the Obsidian Collection

St. Paul’s Festival
When They Speak of Muslims
Skin A Cat
Divine Light
The last night of my 20s 
The Colour of James Brown’s Scream
Guy’s and St Thomas’s
How To Cry
Some Bright Elegance
In Memory of Herbert Morris
Nine Nights
A Comparative History of Fire
Fluke by Any Other Name Is a Flight Number
The Door of No Return

“The stories that are in the poems selected reflect a broad church of Black expression and add necessary nuance to the times we are living in.”

- Nick Makoha, Founder and Director, Obsidian Foundation

Community & Culture

In Memory of Herbert Morris
Nine Nights
By Yourself Boy… (1988 – 2007)
Ghana by Air
Guerilla Garden Writing Poem 
Afterword, London 2020
Outside St Dominic’s Priory: Snapshot, July 2015
Terminal Index

“We believe poetry is for everyone, and we make our poetry recordings freely available so that visitors to our collections can hear how the authors read their own work.”

- Dr Tracey Guiry, Director, The Poetry Archive

History & Identity

In Memory of Herbert Morris
Hotel Art, Barcelona
I’m good but I’m not red 
Why can’t a K be beautiful and magick?
Hostile Environment
For Tyrone Givans
The Long Duration of a Split Second 
I Ran Away from Home to see how long it’d take my Mother to Notice
Citizen One
Day Moon

Family & Relationships

Nine Nights
Jail Letter
Car Sweetness
Blowing Smoke
A Gimbal of Blackness
Half a Lime
Ghetto Van Gogh
The Child God of Chaos
Swallow Twice
Nii Ayikwei Parkes
Rachel Long
Victoria Adukwei Bulley
The Missing
Roger Robinson

"To archive poems that may speak to current or younger generations of writers feels incredible. I’m thankful to join a list of iconic figures who inspire me to craft my work to the best it can be."

- Yomi Sode, Poet

Writing & Inspirations


Interview: Inua Ellams and the clash of language.

Poets Rachel Long and Inua Ellams discuss how Inua names his poems, his writing process, and why he cherishes language. Listen to the conversation here or read the transcript.     Rachel Long: Something occurred when you were reading Inua....
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Coming Soon

This collection will continue to evolve as we work in collaboration with the Obsidian Foundation to add work by British Black poets.

More about the Obsidian Foundation

Obsidian Foundation was founded in 2020 and hosts The Retreat for Black poets. It’s led by poet and founder Nick Makoha with Roger Robinson, Dante Micheaux, Raymond Antrobus and Malika Booker.

The Obsidian Foundation was established in 2020 to create a community of Black creative poets and provide a place for them to express themselves with freedom. A one-week retreat will be held annually for Black African, Caribbean, Afro-Latinx and African-American heritage, including those of mixed-Black heritage poets who want to advance their writing practice. Participant poets have five years to attend three Obsidian retreats, after which they become Obsidian Foundation alumni.

obsidian foundation

This project was made possible with funding from Arts Council England.

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