The Afro-American poetry tradition in Washington received glowing tribute Wednesday night at the Miya Gallery in the opening of the photographic exhibit of District black poets.

An audience of about 40 persons listened to three young poets read their work in lively fashion. Photographs of black bards associated with the District of Columbia since the turn of the century hung on the walls.

The exhibit, according to Jonetta Barras-Abney, assistant director of the Ascension Poetry Reading Series, is designed to stimulate interest in the work of black District poets.

"There are many poets who lived and worked here that many people don't know about," she said. "People like Georgia Douglass Johnson and Jean Toomer."

The opening Wednesday night provided a platform for young poets to read their work.

Karl Carter, a lawyer with the Neighborhood Legal Services, read his "A Half Note for the Duke ('We all knew you/you're not gone/you just took the A Train up to Harlem')."

Joy Jones, an elementary schoolteacher in the District, delivered several dramatic renditions of her work celebrating television watching and defending facial makeup for women.

Greg Tate, a student at Howard University, read poetry that paid homage to Afro-American musicians and extolled love.