Etheridge Knight

Etheridge Knight

Given the facts of his life, it’s remarkable that Etheridge Knight wrote any poetry. After dropping out of school in Kentucky in the eighth grade and serving as a medical technician in Korea, where he suffered a shrapnel wound, he became addicted to drugs and alcohol, turned to crime, and in 1960 went to prison for robbery. Inspired there by the words of Malcolm X and Langston Hughes, however, he began to write, and by his release in 1968 was a published poet. Along with his wife Sonia Sanchez he became a key figure in the Black Arts Movement, and continued to create original verse that told blunt truths and shared a hard-earned wisdom.

What People are Saying

"I learned that I had the ability to capture the attention of an audience and evoke emotion from them. When I recited my first poem in 9th grade for a mock POL class competition, I was incredibly shy and barely audible. But eventually I grew to love sharing the emotions poems gave me."
Chiara Raimondo
2016 NY POL Champion