Poet Nikki Giovanni’s work was a leading light in the Black Arts Movement in the 1960s. She has been a bright, incisive presence in American letters ever since.
Mothership logbook notes on a plenary talk by Nikki on 11/10/2016: Giovanni is a marvelous storyteller speaker weaving poignant insights with humor in ways that disarm and delight whilst sending messages that strike to the bone of things. She embodies the grace that is the trickster truth-talker, a way of seeing and speaking things that world always needs to keep us in balance (and our badness off balance).
Giovanni’s publications and awards are extensive, given her constant work of bringing her life and other lives to the page: (Text below pulled https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poet/nikki-giovanni.)
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.
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.
She is currently University Distinguished Professor at Virginia Tech, where she has taught since 1987.