The Selected Poems of Nikki Giovanni

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2009-06-01
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publications

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When Nikki Giovanni's poems first emerged from the Black Rights Movement in the late 1960s, she immediately took a place among the most celebrated and controversial poets of the era. Finally, here is the first compilation of Nikki Giovanni's poetry. It is the testimony of a life's work from one of the commanding voices to grace America's political and poetic landscape at the end of the twentieth century.From the revolutionary "The Great Pax Whitie" and "Poem for Aretha" to the sublime "Ego Tripping" and the tender "My House," these 150 mind-speaking, truth-telling poems are at once powerful yet sensual, angry yet affirming. Arranged chronologically, they reflect the changes Giovanni has endured as a Black woman, lover, mother, teacher, and poet. Here is the evocation of a nation's past and present -- intensely personal and fiercely political -- from one of our most compassionate, outspoken observers.

Author Biography

Nikki Giovanni is a professor of English at Virginia Polytechnic.

Table of Contents

Forewordp. 1
Chronologyp. 12
Stardate Number 18628.190p. 19
Detroit Conference of Unity and Artp. 23
On Hearing "The Girl with the Flaxen Hair"p. 24
You Came, Toop. 25
Poem (For BMC No. 1)p. 26
Poem (For BMC No. 2)p. 27
Poem (For PCH)p. 28
Poem (No Name No. 1)p. 29
Poem (For BMC No. 3)p. 30
Black Separatismp. 31
Poem (No Name No. 2)p. 32
Poem (No Name No. 3)p. 33
I'm Not Lonelyp. 34
For an Intellectual Audiencep. 35
Black Powerp. 36
Seductionp. 37
Word Poemp. 38
Poem for Black Boysp. 39
The Funeral of Martin Luther King, Jr.p. 41
Nikki-Rosap. 42
The Great Pax Whitiep. 43
Intellectualismp. 46
Universalityp. 47
Knoxville, Tennesseep. 48
Adulthoodp. 49
Dreamsp. 51
Revolutionary Musicp. 52
Beautiful Black Menp. 54
Woman Poemp. 55
For Saundrap. 58
Balancesp. 60
For Theresap. 61
My Poemp. 63
For Tommyp. 67
No Reservationsp. 68
Alonep. 70
For Two Jamesesp. 71
Autumn Poemsp. 72
Rainp. 73
Housecleaningp. 74
Poem For Arethap. 75
Revolutionary Dreamsp. 79
Walking Down Parkp. 80
Kidnap Poemp. 83
The Geni In The Jarp. 84
All I Gotta Dop. 85
Master Charge Bluesp. 87
For A Lady Of Pleasure Now Retiredp. 88
Alabama Poemp. 90
Ego Trippingp. 92
Poem For Florap. 94
Sometimesp. 95
Poem For A Lady Whose Voice I Likep. 96
How Do You Write A Poem?p. 97
And Sometimes I Sitp. 99
I Want To Singp. 100
Ever Want To Crawlp. 101
Poem of Angela Yvonne Davisp. 105
Legaciesp. 113
Mothersp. 114
Winter Poemp. 116
Conversationp. 117
Ritualsp. 119
The World Is Not A Pleasant Place To Bep. 120
The Butterflyp. 121
I Rememberp. 122
A Certain Peacep. 124
When I Napp. 125
Just a New York Poemp. 126
[Untitled]p. 128
The Wonder Womanp. 129
Categoriesp. 130
Scrapbooksp. 132
When I Diep. 135
[Untitled] (For Margaret Danner)p. 137
My Towerp. 138
Poem (For Nina)p. 139
Africa Ip. 140
Africa IIp. 141
They Clappedp. 143
Poem (For Anna Hedgeman and Alfreda Duster)p. 145
Atrocitiesp. 146
Wep. 148
My Housep. 149
The Women Gatherp. 153
Once A Lady Told Mep. 155
Each Sundayp. 156
The December Of My Springsp. 158
The Life I Ledp. 159
The Way I Feelp. 161
Communicationp. 162
Luxuryp. 163
Poemp. 164
Hampton, Virginiap. 165
Poetry Is a Trestlep. 166
Something To Be Said For Silencep. 167
Africap. 169
Swazilandp. 171
A Very Simple Wishp. 172
Nightp. 174
Poetryp. 175
Cotton Candy On A Rainy Dayp. 179
Introspectionp. 182
Forced Retirementp. 184
The New Yorkersp. 187
Crutchesp. 191
Boxesp. 193
Poemp. 195
A Poem Off Centerp. 198
Agep. 200
Life Cyclesp. 203
Adulthood IIp. 205
Habitsp. 207
Gusp. 210
Choicesp. 214
Photographyp. 216
The Beep Beep Poemp. 217
Womanp. 219
Poem (for EMA)p. 220
The Rose Bushp. 222
Patiencep. 223
Make Upp. 224
Winterp. 226
You Are Therep. 227
Turning (I need a better title)p. 229
A Poem of Friendshipp. 231
Being and Nothingnessp. 232
The Moon Shines Downp. 233
That Dayp. 234
Charting the Night Windsp. 239
Lorraine Hansberryp. 241
Hands: For Mother's Dayp. 245
This Is Not for John Lennonp. 248
Mirrorsp. 251
Linkagep. 254
Charles Whitep. 257
The Drump. 259
A Poem on the Assassination of Robert F. Kennedyp. 260
Eaglesp. 261
Her Cruising Carp. 262
Harvestp. 266
Sky Divingp. 269
A Journeyp. 270
Resignationp. 271
I Wrote a Good Omeletp. 274
Three/Quarters Timep. 275
Cancersp. 276
I Am Shep. 278
You Were Gonep. 279
A Poem for langston hughesp. 283
But Since You Finally Askedp. 287
Title Indexp. 289
First Line Indexp. 291
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.


The Selected Poems of Nikki GiovanniOn Hearing "The Girl with the Flaxen Hair"

He has a girl who has flaxen hair
My woman has hair of gray
I have a woman who wakes up at dawn
His girl can sleep through the day

His girl has hands soothed with perfumes sweet
She has lips soft and pink
My woman's lips burn in midday sun
My woman's hands black like ink

He can make music to please his girl
Night comes I'm tired and beat
He can make notes, make her heart beat fast
Night comes I want off my feet

Maybe if I don't pick cotton so fast
Maybe I'd sing pretty too
Sing to my woman with hair of gray
Croon softly, Baby it's you

Copyright ) 1968, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1974, 1975, 1978, 1979, 1983, 1995, 1996 by Nikki GiovanniThe Selected Poems of Nikki Giovanni. Copyright © by Nikki Giovanni. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Excerpted from The Selected Poems of Nikki Giovanni by Nikki Giovanni
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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