Nikki Giovanni

cantfindit

Yolanda Cornelia "Nikki" Giovanni was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, on June 7, 1943, and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. In 1960, she entered Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, where she worked with the school's Writer's Workshop and edited the literary magazine. After receiving her bachelor of arts degree in 1967, she organized the Black Arts Festival in Cincinnati before entering graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University. Giovanni is the author of numerous children books and poetry collections, including Chasing Utopia: A Hybrid (William Morrow, 2013), Bicycles: Love Poems (William Morrow, 2009); Acolytes (HarperCollins, 2007); The Collected Poetry of Nikki Giovanni: 1968-1998 (Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 2003); Quilting the Black-Eyed Pea: Poems and Not-Quite Poems (William Morrow, 2002); Blues For All the Changes: New Poems (William Morrow, 1999); Love Poems (William Morrow, 1997); and Selected Poems of Nikki Giovanni (University Press of Mississippi, 1996). In her first two collections, Black Feeling, Black Talk (Harper Perennial, 1968) and Black Judgement (Broadside Press, 1969), Giovanni reflects on the African-American identity. A lung cancer survivor, Giovanni also contributed an introduction to the anthology Breaking the Silence: Inspirational Stories of Black Cancer Survivors (Hilton Publishing, 2005). Her honors include a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1970, the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. Award for Dedication and Commitment to Service in 2009, three NAACP Image Awards for Literature in 1998, the Langston Hughes award for Distinguished Contributions to Arts and Letters in 1996, as well as more than twenty honorary degrees from national colleges and universities. She has been given keys to more than a dozen cities, including New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, Miami, and New Orleans. Several magazines have named Giovanni Woman of the Year, including Essence, Mademoiselle, Ebony, and Ladies Home Journal. She was the first recipient of the Rosa Parks Woman of Courage Award. She has served as poetry judge for the National Book Awards and was a finalist for a Grammy Award in the category of Spoken Word. She is currently University Distinguished Professor at Virginia Tech, where she has taught since 1987. Source

Choices

if i can't do

what i want to do

then my job is to not

do what i don't want

to do

 

it's not the same thing

but it's the best i can

do

 

if i can't have

what i want    then

my job is to want

what i've got

and be satisfied

that at least there

is something more

to want

 

since i can't go

where i need

to go    then i must    go

where the signs point

though always understanding

parallel movement

isn't lateral

 

when i can't express

what i really feel

i practice feeling

what i can express

and none of it is equal

i know

but that's why mankind

alone among the animals

learns to cry

Published:

1982

Length:

Shorty

Literary Movements:

Black Arts Movement

Anthology Years:

Themes:

Faith & Hope

Poems of the Everyday

Strength & Resilience

Literary Devices:

Chiasmus

the usage of words in a clause that are repeated in reverse order

Epistrophe

the repetition of a word or phrase at the end of successive clauses

Internal Rhyme

A rhyme involving a word in the middle of a line and another at the end of the line or in the middle of the next.

Litote

Ironic understatement in which a positive idea is expressed using a negative of its opposite.