Nikki Giovanni

Nikki Giovanni Poems

In life
one is always

I always like summer
you can eat fresh corn
From daddy's garden

If i can't do
what i want to do

Rain has drops
Sun has shine

We are not lovers
because of the love

Ever been kidnapped
by a poet

I wrote a good omelet...and ate
a hot poem... after loving you

i wanta say just gotta say something
bout those beautiful beautiful beautiful outasight
black men
with they afros

I came to the crowd seeking friends
I came to the crowd seeking love

Some people forget that love is
tucking you in and kissing you

Don't look now
I'm fading away

the last time i was home
to see my mother we kissed
exchanged pleasantries


in my younger years
before i learned
black people aren't

I'm not lonely
sleeping all alone

so he said: you ain't got no talent
if you didn't have a face
you wouldn't be nobody

I was born in the congo
I walked to the fertile crescent and built
the sphinx

Clouds float by on a summer sky
I hop scotch over to you

While it is true
(though only in a factual sense)
That in the wake of a

and always there are the children

there will be children in the heat of day
there will be children in the cold of winter

it's not the crutches we decry
it's the need to move forward
though we haven't the strength

Nikki Giovanni Biography

an American poet, writer, commentator, activist, and educator. Her primary focus is on the individual and the power one has to make a difference in oneself and in the lives of others. Giovanni’s poetry expresses strong racial pride, respect for family, and her own experiences as a daughter, a civil rights activist, and a mother. She is currently a distinguished professor of English at Virginia Tech. Nikki Giovanni was born in Knoxville, Tennessee to Yolande Cornelia, Sr. and Jones "Gus" Giovanni. She grew up in Lincoln Heights, a suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio, and in 1960 began her studies at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, her grandfather's alma mater. She graduated in 1967 with honors, receiving a B.A. in history. Afterward she went on to attend the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University. In 1969 Giovanni began teaching at Livingston College of Rutgers University, and since 1987, she has taught writing and literature at Virginia Tech, where she is a University Distinguished Professor. She has received nineteen honorary doctorates and a myriad of other awards, including "Woman of the Year" awards from three different magazines as well as the key to several different cities. She is a member of Order of Eastern Star (PHA), and an Honorary Member of Delta Sigma Theta sorority.)

The Best Poem Of Nikki Giovanni


In life
one is always

like we juggle our mothers
against our fathers

or one teacher
against another
(only to balance our grade average)

3 grains of salt
to one ounce truth

our sweet black essence
or the funky honkies down the street

and lately i've begun wondering
if you're trying to tell me something

we used to talk all night
and do things alone together

and i've begun

(as a reaction to a feeling)
to balance
the pleasure of loneliness
against the pain
of loving you

Nikki Giovanni Comments

Caroline Bulleck 25 July 2012

Has anyone ever read Poetry by Nikki Giovanni? If not, here it is: Poetry is motion graceful as a fawn gentle as a teardrop strong like the eye finding peace in a crowded room we poets tend to think our words are golden though emotion speaks too loudly to be defined by silence sometimes after midnight or just before the dawn we sit typewriter in hand pulling loneliness around us forgetting our lovers or children who are sleeping ignoring the weary wariness of our own logic to compose a poem no one understands it it never says love me for poets are beyond love it never says accept me for poems seek not acceptance but controversy it only says i am and therefore i concede that you are too a poem is pure energy horizontally contained between the mind of the poet and the ear of the reader if it does not sing discard the ear for poetry is song if it does not delight discard the heart for poetry is joy if it does not inform then close off the brain for it is dead if it cannot heed the insistent message that life is precious which is all we poets wrapped in our loneliness are trying to say

196 85 Reply
Christi Sloma 22 April 2007

What a wonderful, uplifting speech she gave at the convocation memorial service at Va Taech the day after the shootings there. She raised the spirits of both the students and the staff along with those of the world. She gave hope to the hopeless of the world and raised every single person involved with Va Tech to the highest of all highs. Va Tech is indeed lucky to have her as one of their professors. I hope and pray that they all recover from this horrible tragedy and with staff like her, the students will prevail! Go Hokies! Go Hokies!

134 81 Reply
Kristine Gartner 20 April 2007

As to the person who stated that all professionals had not helped this gentlemen. It is now the job of teachers to also stop the hate in people? It is he, himself, who failed the world. He is responsible for decisions and in the eyes of most of us, is a coward.

99 73 Reply
A Macdonald 18 April 2007

Nikki Giovanni's comments concerning the Vtech shootings should put her out of work. Her lack of maturity, sensitivity or humanity should prove to warrant some disciplinary action. Ms. Giovanni, this is a boy who was literally crying out for help on so many occasions. Every 'professional' who had dealings with this young man has FAILED him including YOU.

37 100 Reply
K Baxter 19 April 2007

are you joking? youre ridiculous. did you miss the part where people tried to talk to him and tried to help him, but he barely even spoke a word to them, even when he was spoken to? did you miss the part where he was referred to counseling, to police, to administration? giovanni is an intelligent, caring, warm hearted individual. what would you have liked her to say? ''i ache for this this poor, poor child...'' this child failed HIMSELF and while he was at it, he took 32 innocent people with him. 'boys reaching out for help' dont laugh maniacally while they shoot fellow college students execution style with automatic weapons. they do not send numerous disturbing photos and videos of themselves with weapons and angry faces, discussing how their proceeding act of murder is 'not their fault at all' but the fault of everyone else, 'they chose it, they deserve it. theyll get whats coming to them.' this wasnt a young man reaching out for help, this was a very disturbed, vicious, and immature little boy who wanted to 'get even' with 'rich kids' that he hated for no reason. was he troubled? obviously, YES! this is not an excuse for his horrifying actions and it is NO reason for professors and faculty members to feel sorry for him or feel guilty. he ripped apart a university family. he ruined lives, families, relationships... i have NO pity for this cold blooded murderer. i feel a very deep sorrow for the innocent people that he took with him in his suicide mission and i feel sorry for the family that he embarrassed.

65 49 Reply
Jamrey 12 May 2022

No Experience Needed, No Boss Over il Your FD Shoulder… Say Goodbye To Your Old Job! Limited Number Of Spots Open……. 𝙛𝙪𝙡𝙟𝙤𝙗𝙯.𝙘𝙤𝙢

0 0 Reply
Jamrey 12 May 2022

Has anyone ever read Poetry by Nikki Giovanni? If not, here it is: Poetry is motion graceful as a fawn gentle as a teardrop strong like the eye finding peace in a crowded room we poets tend to

0 0 Reply
Chad Realman 19 November 2021

Not a fan of her poems that promote violence and hatred against people that are not black. The other poems are decent though. Still, she's got a complex against people that do not like her.

0 1 Reply
Soulmate forever 16 January 2021

Love you so much

0 0 Reply
Harmony clayton 4th grader 24 October 2019

i like this because it give me information and its fun to read them but mean it FAKE you DUMMYS LIKE HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAh YOU SO SALITTY :) : (

0 0 Reply

Nikki Giovanni Quotes

If you don't understand yourself you don't understand anybody else.

There're two people in the world that are not likeable: a master and a slave.

A white face goes with a white mind. Occasionally a black face goes with a white mind. Very seldom a white face will have a black mind.

I think one of the nicest things that we created as a generation was just the fact that we could say, Hey, I don't like white people.

A lot of people refuse to do things because they don't want to go naked, don't want to go without guarantee. But that's what's got to happen. You go naked until you die.

Writers don't write from experience, although many are hesitant to admit that they don't. ...If you wrote from experience, you'd get maybe one book, maybe three poems. Writers write from empathy.

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