“We write because we believe the human spirit cannot be tamed and should not be trained.” – Nikki Giovanni
Born on this date in 1943, Yolande Cornelia "Nikki" Giovanni, Jr. is an American poet, writer, commentator, activist, and educator and one of the world's most well-known African American poets. Her work includes poetry anthologies, poetry recordings, and nonfiction essays, and covers topics ranging from race and social issues to children's literature. And, she’s one of the world’s leading advocates of poetry as a way to reach out and work hand-in-hand with one-another.
“If everybody became a poet the world would be much better,” she insists. “We would all read to each other.”
Author of some 30 books, including poetry collections, illustrated children’s books, and collections of essays, she is the winner of numerous awards, including the Langston Hughes Medal , and the NAACP Image Award, she was named one of Oprah Winfrey’s 25 “Living Legends.”
Her work is described as conveying “urgency in expressing the need for Black awareness, unity, [and] solidarity,” and is said to speak to all ages. She strives to make her work easily accessible and understood by both adults and children.
“I am totally fascinated by people and our history as I understand and continue to explore it,” she said. “People have so much to give and so far to go and yet we have given and gone a great distance. It's really just interesting to ask: why not? And see where that takes me.”
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