Etheridge Knight (b. April 19, 1931, Corinth, Mississippi–d. March 10, 1991, Indianapolis) was an African-American poet who burst onto the scene in 1968 with his debut volume, Poems from Prison. The book recalls in verse his eight-year-long sentence after Etheridge was arrested for robbery in 1960. A prose version was published in Italian as Voce negre dal carcere, and in English as Black Voices from Prison (1970), which includes other prisoners’ writings.
Belly Song and Other Poems (1973) dealt with themes of racism and love. Knight believed the poet was a “meddler” or intermediary between the poem and the reader. He elaborated on this concept in his 1980 work Born of a Woman. The Essential Etheridge Knight (1986) is a compilation of Knight’s work.
Knight was married to fellow poet Sonia Sanchez.