detail from cover of The Poetry of Derek Walcott Courtesy of Farrar, Straus, and Giroux hide caption

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Amiri Baraka, shown here in 1972, was a renowned poet whose politics strongly shaped his work. Julian C. Wilson/AP hide caption

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Matthea Harvey's upcoming collection mixes poetry with visual art — like this image. Faces drawn by Monika Zarzecna. Matthea Harvey/Graywolf Press hide caption

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Medgar Evers was the first NAACP field secretary in Mississippi. The civil rights leader was killed in 1963. AP hide caption

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On Dec. 8, three days after Nelson Mandela's death, a girl in Johannesburg lights a candle in his memory. Poet Mbali Vilakazi has written an elegy for Mandela that asks the next generation of South Africans to continue his legacy. Pedro Ugarte/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Cover of New and Selected Poems by David Lehman. Courtesy of Scribner hide caption

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Suzannah Gilman

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