Nikki Giovanni was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, and spent summers there with her grandparents while staying with her parents in Cincinnati most school years, though she graduated from Austin High School in Knoxville. From there she attended Fisk University until she was expelled for her participation in Civil Rights activity. Later reinstated, she graduated from Fisk and moved to New York City where she was involved in the Black Arts Movement. Her first poetry was self-published, but soon picked up by major publishers. In 2011, she read a poem at the dedication of the Martin Luther King Memorial in Washington, D. C., and she has been named Woman of the Year by four women’s magazines. She has received nineteen honorary degrees. Her classes at Virginia Tech sit in a circle, and when I attended one, she introduced me to each of her students conveying impressive knowledge of the backgrounds and interests of each. This book demonstrates that Giovanni is a master of the prose essay as well as kids books and poetry!
New York: HarperCollins, 2003. 578 pages. Trade paperback.