Saturday, February 26, 2005

Lisa Highlights Nikki Giovanni for Black History Month

I always like summer
You can eat fresh corn
From daddy's garden
And okra
And greens
And cabbage
And lots of
And buttermilk
And homemade ice-cream

Lisa: That's from the poem "Knoxville Tennessee" by Nikki Giovanni and Knoxville is where Ms. Giovanni was born (June 7, 1943) and where her grandparents lived.

In the sixties, she began her professional poetry career and was part of Black Arts movement. Her poems have always been influenced by the world around. She could write with insight and heart about Angela Davis or about children, about hopes and about pain.

Among her many books of poetry are Black Talk, Black Judgement, Love Poems, Those Who Ride the Night Winds and, my favorite, Quilting the Black-Eyed Pea: Poems and Not-Quite Poems.

Ms. Giovani has won many awards and honors including the Langston Hughes award for Distinguished Contributions to Arts and Letters (1996). Like Langston Hughes, Richard Wright, Lorraine Hansberry and Alice Walker, Nikki Giovanni is a part of the legacy of African-American contributions to the arts.

With Ms. Giovanni there is no wall between the personal and the political or between the lived life and art. It is all a mosaic that informs our understanding of what we were, what we are and who we can be.