Alice Walker’s Best Poems 📜

Alice Walker is a writer of profound talent. Her versatility in writing encompasses fiction and nonfiction prose as well as poetry. She has published several volumes of poetry and has hundreds of poems to her credit. Let’s take a look at Alice Walker’s poetry.

Alice Walker

African-American Novelist, Poet, and Activist

One proof of Alice Walker’s brilliance is her versatility as a writer. While she is renowned as a novelist, she is also acclaimed as a poet who has used poetry to speak out on a vast majority of areas. Alice Walker’s poems are simple enough to be understood by people who are not poetry experts, yet so well crafted that one cannot deny the creativity of the mind behind them.

Alice Walker published her first volume of poems in 1968 with the title ‘Once,’ and ever since has published over nine volumes of poems in print and numerous other poems, which she now publishes on her official website.

List of Alice Walker’s Poetry Volumes

Once (1968)

Walker’s debut poetry volume. Most of the poems in ‘Once’ were written while Alice Walker was an exchange student in Africa. It depicts a picture of Africans and the African landscape from the lens of an African-American young woman.

Revolutionary Petunias and Other Poems (1973)

‘Revolutionary Petunias and Other Poems’ is Alice Walker’s second poetry volume. The poems are about Revolutionaries, love, trust, hope, and courage to keep loving even in the face of betrayal and hatred.

Good Night, Willie Lee, I’ll See You in the Morning (1979)

The poems in this volume show us the beauty of the mundane as it tells of the personal struggles of one on a quest to demystify love.

Horses Make A Landscape Look More Beautiful (1985)

This collection of poetry explores the intricacies of personal life as it is affected by global politics. The title of the volume was inspired by an account from a Native American shaman who almost pardons the invasion of the white man and the disruption he brought because the white man brought horses, an animal whose strength and beauty he came to admire and love.

Her Blue Body Everything We Know: Earthling Poems 1965-1990 Complete (1991)

This volume compiled all of Alice Walker’s poems from the years 1965-1990, including previously published poems. It was a tribute to Alice Walker’s twenty-five years in poetry writing. It adds the author’s notes to give a historical perspective and contextual backdrops to the poems.

Anything We Love Can Be Saved (1998)

This collection contains some inspirational messages on self-sufficiency. ”Before You Knew You Owned It” of Alice Walker’s most popular poems, is contained in this volume. The volume was inspired by the kindness of Alice Walker’s deceased mother.

Absolute Trust in the Goodness of the Earth (2003)

Alice Walker comes back with an impact here. This collection of poems, as the title suggests, teaches the beauty of a life lived in sync with the earth and elements of nature. It reaffirms Alice Walker’s talent in writing.

A Poem Traveled Down My Arm (2003)

Here Alice Walker uses well-crafted words to evoke emotions and share some of her personal philosophies in life. The poems in this collection can bring peace to a troubled soul.

Hard Times Require Furious Dancing (2010)

This collection of poems was mostly inspired by Alice Walker’s pro-Palestinian activism. Alice Walker, in an interview, recounts how she and other women had danced after a humiliating interrogation and detention by Israeli forces. The incidence is what inspired the title of the collection. The poems are about togetherness in joy and in tears.

The World Will Follow Joy: Turning Madness into Flowers (2013)

This is a collection of over sixty poems by Alice Walker through which she shares the power of poetry to inspire activists and ignite compassion for those suffering injustice around the globe.

Taking the Arrow out of the Heart (2018)

Alice Walker uses the Arrow to symbolize pain, hatred, injustice, and suffering often shot at us by an unjust world and beckons on us to take the Arrow out of our hearts and heal. Alice Walker, in these poems, talks about everyday life, activism, communal living and solitude, and a wide range of themes.

Alice Walker’s Best Poems

Alice Walker has hundreds of poems to her credit. This list I regard as Alice Walker’s best poems come from my preferences among as many of her poems as I could study.

Be Nobody’s Darling

Be Nobody’s Darling‘ encourages one to be their authentic self without being shackled by conformity or the need to please other people. It epitomizes the outcast and commends the bravery of those who question and contradict popular opinions.

While the poem points out the fate of the outcast as one who lives among the dead, it does not paint a picture of gloom at this fate. On the contrary, it says, “Make a merry gathering on the bank where thousands perished.”

If I was President

This is a very political call to free people who are regarded by mainstream politicians and media as enemies of the United States and held in bondage in prisons across the World.

It is a clear voice of Alice Walker’s activism and views on America’s position in global politics. She paints an imaginary picture of being president and talks of how she would use that power. Among the things she would do are call activists like Mumia Abu-Jamal, Leonard Peltier, John Trudell, and Dennis Banks. She also adds calling the Cubans.

Before I leave the Stage

This poem encourages using love and the gift of life to make an impact on the world before transitioning. It sees life as a stage where one ought to make one’s self known while one has the opportunity of being on the stage.

A Picture Story For the Curious

Alice Walker paints us a picture of her life as she enjoys the beauty of aging in solitude while sharing in the sufferings of people across the world through her compassion. A recurring line in the poem is ‘’I get to spend time with myself whenever I want’’. 

The poem is a beautiful picture of a contented life.

Blessed are the Poor in Spirit

Blessed are the poor in spirit‘ is an inspiration from the beatitudes of the biblical Jesus Christ. It draws from the Christian message of ‘’Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven’’.

The poem preaches collectivism and solidarity in struggles. One striking line in the poem is ‘’This is the kingdom of owning the other as self, the self as other’’.


Women‘ is an ode to the black women of Alice Walker’s mother’s generation who fought to ensure that their children had formal education. Walker praises these women as strong, wise women whose knowledge and intellect were beyond the things to be learned in schools.

Before You Knew You Owned It / Expect Nothing

Expect Nothing‘ is a poem about being self-sufficient and with no expectations from other people. It chastises the craving for pity. A recurring line with a powerful message in the poem is, “Expect nothing. Live frugally on surprise.”


What poems did Alice Walker write?

Alice Walker has written over two hundred poems. She has published nine poetry volumes that contain her poems written in various styles and touching on a wide range of themes. Some of her poetry volumes include ‘Once,’ published in 1968. ‘Revolutionary Petunias and Other Poems’ was published in 1973, and more recently, ‘Taking the Arrow out of the Heart’ was published in 2018.
Some titles of her poems are ‘She,’ ‘If I was President’, and ‘Before I Leave the Stage.’

What is Alice Walker’s most famous poem?

Alice Walker’s most famous poem is arguably ‘Before You Knew You Owned it / Expect Nothing’. Its simplicity of style and the depth of its theme of self-sufficiency makes it resonate with many readers both poetry pundits and otherwise.

What is one of Alice Walker’s poems?

One of Alice Walker’s poems is ‘Women’, which is an ode to an older generation of wise black women who ensured that the next generation acquires formal education.

Who is Alice Walker’s husband?

Alice Walker is currently unmarried. However, she was once married to a Jewish man called Melvyn Leventhal. Walker and Leventhal married in 1967, making history as the first interracial couple in Jackson, Mississippi.
The couple have one daughter from their marriage but divorced amicably in 1976.

Onyeka Osuji
About Onyeka Osuji
Onyeka is a lecturer of Public Administration and a Literature enthusiast. After gaining accreditation in English Literature, Onyeka analyzes novels on Book Analysis, whilst working as an academic and writing short stories.
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