Nikki Giovanni

(June 7, 1943 / Knoxville, Tennessee)

Nikki Giovanni Quotes

  • ''If you don't understand yourself you don't understand anybody else.''
    Nikki Giovanni (b. 1943), U.S. poet. A Dialogue (1973). from a conversation, Nov. 4, 1971, with James Baldwin in London.
    692 person liked.
    144 person did not like.
  • ''There're two people in the world that are not likeable: a master and a slave.''
    Nikki Giovanni (b. 1943), U.S. poet, and James Baldwin (1924-1987), U.S. author. A Dialogue (1973). from a conversation in London, Nov. 4, 1971.
  • ''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.''
    Nikki Giovanni (b. 1943), U.S. poet. from a conversation with James Baldwin, in London, Nov. 4, 1971. A Dialogue (1973).
  • ''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.''
    Nikki Giovanni (b. 1943), U.S. poet. from a conversation with James Baldwin in London, Nov. 4, 1971. A Dialogue (1973).
  • ''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.''
    Nikki Giovanni (b. 1943), U.S. poet. Black Women Writers at Work, ch. 5, by Claudia Tate (1983).
  • ''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.''
    Nikki Giovanni (b. 1943), U.S. poet. Black Women Writers at Work, ch. 5, by Claudia Tate (1983).

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Best Poem of Nikki Giovanni

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 ...

Read the full of Choices

Balances

In life
one is always
balancing

like we juggle our mothers
against our fathers

or one teacher
against another

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