Nikki Giovanni

I fell in love with poetry at a young age. My dad had three of Nikki Giovanni’s books. They were old and smelled so nice… they had that perfect old book smell. The pages were kind of a tan color from age and were a thicker texture. I loved flipping the pages as much as I loved reading them. I’ve always been a bit of a book worm. I knew when I first began reading them that they were a little rated MA for my rated G mind but the words… and the feeling behind them spoke to me. So I took all three off of our bookshelf at home and put them in my room. My dad was militant growing up but also pretty cautious about what we watched on tv or read so I have a few theories about why he never took the books from me when he saw that I was reading them 1. Because he encouraged reading of any kind; so he was just happy I was reading.  2. Because he loved her poetry like I did and loved the fact that I loved it also. Or possibly 3. He forgot about some of the poems and had no idea he should have confiscated the books. He would just randomly tell me “Don’t you lose my books” when he saw them. I’d reassure him that I wouldn’t, and that would be that. I’ll have to ask him one day.

I’m ecstatic to be able to say that in 2008 I was able to watch her speak at Houston Tillson College (a historically black college in Austin). She was everything I hoped she would be. And even better… she cussed!! She USED CUSS WORDS. She spoke about increasing black kids desire to be apart of the space program, about fighting for civil rights… she was funny and interesting and tiny. I kept thinking she really is my soul sister (except she’s 40 years older than me). The best part was being able to talk to her for a second and getting one of my dad’s books signed. Outside of going to one of President Obama’s rallies and hearing him speak (also happened in 2008) this has been a lifetime highlight of mine. She was lovingly called the poet of the black revolution and her brutal honesty is something I’ve always admired… as well as her love of Tupac.

So, since I don’t have much to talk about personally, today I thought I’d introduce the bloggosphere to Ms. Giovanni. I hope you love her as much as I do.

Here’s a link to get to know her better:

And here’s my favorite poem:

‘Poem For a Lady Whose Voice I like’

so he said: you ain’t got no talent
    if you didn’t have a face
    you wouldn’t be nobody
and she said: god created heaven and earth
    and all that’s Black within them
so he said: you ain’t really no hot shit
    they tell me plenty sisters
    take care better business than you
and she said: on the third day he made chitterlings
    and all good things to eat
    and said: “that’s good”
so he said: if the white folks hadn’t been under
    yo skirt and been giving you the big play
    you’d a had to come on uptown like everybody else
and she replied: then he took a big Black greasy rib
    from adam and said we will call this woeman and her
    name will be sapphire and she will divide into four parts
    that simone may sing a song
and he said: you pretty full of yourself ain’t chu
so she replied: show me someone not full of herself
    and i’ll show you a hungry person.

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