Nikki Giovanni

Nikki Giovanni

About Nikki Giovanni

Yolande Cornelia Giovanni, Jr., known as Nikki Giovanni, (born June 7, 1943 in Knoxville, Tennessee) is an American writer, poet, editor, and scholar. She is a prominent African-American poet and writer nicknamed the Princess of Black Poetry, and who also rose to prominence for her involvement in the Black Arts Movement of the late 1960s. She is also known to be one of the figures of the Black Rights an activist of the American civil rights movement.
In 1967, while she was still a student at Columbia University in New York, she published her first collection of poetry Black Feeling, Black Talk, which as sold more than ten thousand copies. During this same year, she lost her grandmother, Louvenia Watson, who marked her and to express her suffering she began writing the poems inspired by her mourning which compose her collection Black Feelings, Black Talk. The success of her first publication allowed her to take her first steps as a teacher at Livingston College at Rutgers University. Her second book Black Judgement was published the next year in 1968
Like many African-Americans, the assassinations of Malcolm X in 1965 and then of Martin Luther King.Jr in 1968, triggered radicalization and rapprochement with the Black Panthers. From 1970 she became known by appearing regularly on the television program Soul! where she met various African-American personalities such as Carmen De Lavallade, Muhammad Ali, James Baldwin, Jesse Jackson, Harry Belafonte, Sidney Poitier, Gladys Knight, Miriam Makeba, Stevie Wonder, Linda Hopkins, etc.
The 1970s were a fertile decade for Nikki Giovanni, she published several sound recordings of her poetry, she launched several poetry collections for young people, poetry collections (The Women and the Men, Cotton Candy on a Rainy Day, etc. ). In Gemini (1970) she published her first essay on the experience of the condition of African-American poets. She continues her existential reflection with the publication of two exchanges, one with James Baldwin (A Dialogue: James Baldwin and Nikki Giovanni, 1973) and the other with Margaret Walker (A Poetic Equation: Coversations Between Nikki Giovanni and Margaret Walker, 1974 ) . With a body of work including poems advocating racial equality and civil rights, collections of poetry for children, and personal and introspective pieces, versatility and creativity characterize the work of Nikki Giovanni as well as the use of free verse, repetition, extended metaphor.
Free verse is a form that creates its own unique writing arrangement. each poem is structured according to rhythmic effects and topics. This style close to the conversation allows a greater proximity with the readers. Nikki Giovanni uses repetition to give rhythm to her poems, she often repeats letters, syllables, words, sentences or ideas in order to enhance a theme, to reinforce it. The use of the extended metaphor makes it possible to compare two different things in the same work, a style which provokes surprise, breaks ordinary associations, a figure of rupture which makes it possible to arouse emotions in readers.

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