Diving Into the Life of Nikki Giovanni

NikkiMajority of Nikki Giovanni’s poems focus on the subject of discrimination against women and minority groups as well as people below the poverty line. Giovanni describes her poems as voices for those who felt voiceless. Although it may seem that many poems are from Giovanni’s perspec
tive, this is unlikely because she was born to two college educated parents in the middle class. Her grandmother greatly influenced her life as she was very outspoken. As Giovanni explained in an interview, “I come from a long line of storytellers” (https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poets/detail/nikki-giovanni). It was her grandmother who pushed her to enroll at the traditionally all-black college known as Fisk University. Upon graduating she attended the University of Pennsylvania as well as Columbia University. After receiving a teaching position at Rutgers University and the birth of her son, Giovanni turned to verse for children. These poems for children also focused on the feelings that many black children experience as they grow up. As the number of her works grew, Giovanni’s popularity as a lecturer and speaker also increased. Her outspoken poetry and other works has earned Giovanni many awards including multiple NAACP Image Awards, the Langston Hughes Award for Distinguished Contributions to Arts and Letters, the Rosa Parks Women of Courage Award and over twenty honorary degrees from colleges and universities around the country.

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This entry was posted in English III Honors, Feminism, Modernism, Poetry. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Diving Into the Life of Nikki Giovanni

  1. juhir1617 says:

    Jenna, I like how you addressed common misconceptions and supported the truth with explanations of Giovanni’s background. How did her experiences in college influence her writing? Were there any specific events that she explicates in her poetry? Maybe you could elaborate even more about her relationship with her grandmother, and the impact that her grandmother had on her writing.

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