How about someone still alive? Toni Morrison or Maya Angelou?
I would do MY report on Gwendolyn Brooks. My son was in a workshop she taught and loves her poetry. Her poetry sometimes used blues rhythms in free verse (e.g., her celebration of Aloneness with hip-hop rhythms). Here's a book that features that poem; you should be able to get it through your library -- Amazon.com: Hip Hop Speaks to Children with CD: A Celebration of Poetry with a Beat (A Poetry Speaks Experience) (9781402210488): Nikki Giovanni, Alicia Vergel de Dios, Damian Ward, Kristen Balouch, Jeremy Tugeau, Michele Noiset: Books (http://www.amazon.com/Hip-Hop-Speaks-Children-Celebration/dp/product-description/1402210485)
If you go with Brooks, you can sneak music into your report.