Favorite Favorites: Nikki Giovanni

I think that I fell in love with Nikki when I started undergrad. I was using the microfiche to look up god knows what and ran across one of her poems. I think my jaw dropped. She said that? And got away with it?! And I could tell she meant it. So I decided to read more of her work and try as hard as I could to keep whatever I had to say just as honest and square. She made me feel like a person who looked like me could do anything. And a few years ago I wrote to her at the University. I don’t know why I ever expected her to respond, I’m sure that she receives goofy fan letters by the bucketloads from aspiring writers. I never heard back but it doesn’t matter. She is still amazing.




in life one is always balancing
like we juggle our mothers against our fathers
or one teacher against another (only to balance our grade average)
3 grains of salt to one ounce truth
our sweet black essence or the funky honkies down the street
and lately i’ve begun wondering if you’re trying to tell me something
we used to talk all night and do things alone together
and i’ve begun
(as a reaction to a feeling) to balance the pleasure of loneliness against the pain of loving you

Nikki Giovanni

Knoxville Tennessee

I always like summer Best you can eat fresh corn From daddy’s garden And okra And greens And cabbage And lots of Barbeque And buttermilk And homemade ice-cream At the church picnic And listen to Gospel music Outside At the church Homecoming And go to the mountains with Your grandmother And go barefooted And be warm All the time Not only when you go to bed And sleep

Nikki Giovanni

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