Photo: Nikki Giovanni speaks at Virginia Tech, 2007 | Eric Draper, whitehouse.gov.
The next show will air on Sunday, August 17, 2014 from 11:00 PM – 1:00 AM Monday Eastern Standard Time on WBAI, 99.5 FM in the NYC metro area or streaming online at wbai.org. This installment of the program will feature an interview with poet, writer, and educator Nikki Giovanni. You can hear a short preview of the show below.
Nikki Giovanni is a world-renowned poet, writer, commentator, activist, and educator. Over the past thirty years, her outspokenness, in her writing and in lectures, has brought the eyes of the world upon her. One of the most widely-read American poets, she prides herself on being “a Black American, a daughter, a mother, a professor of English.” Giovanni remains as determined and committed as ever to the fight for civil rights and equality. Always insisting on presenting the truth as she sees it, she has maintained a prominent place as a strong voice of the Black community. Her focus is on the individual, specifically, on the power one has to make a difference in oneself, and thus, in the lives of others.
Nikki Giovanni was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, and grew up in Lincoln Heights, an all-black suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio. She and her sister spent their summers with their grandparents in Knoxville, and she graduated with honors from Fisk University, her grandfather’s alma mater, in 1968; after graduating from Fisk, she attended the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University. She published her first book of poetry, Black Feeling Black Talk, in 1968, and within the next year published a second book, thus launching her career as a writer. Early in her career she was dubbed the “Princess of Black Poetry,”
Giovanni’s spoken word recordings have also achieved widespread recognition and honors. Her album Truth Is On Its Way, on which she reads her poetry against a background of gospel music, was a top 100 album and received the Best Spoken Word Album given by the National Association of Radio and Television Announcers. Her Nikki Giovanni Poetry Collection, on which she reads and talks about her poetry, was one of five finalists for a Grammy Award.
The author of some 30 books for both adults and children, Nikki Giovanni is a University Distinguished Professor at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia. Ms. Giovanni’s latest book is titled Chasing Utopia.
Show engineered, produced, hosted, and edited by Joyce Jones. Listen for our On the Bandstand segment with NYC metro area appearances of Suga’ guests at the end of the first hour with Associate Producer Hank Williams.
Program note: It’s not too late to grab a copy of Suga in My Bowl’s premium of Howard University professor Dr. Greg Kimathi Carr‘s fantastic biography of the legendary Pan African scholar Dr. John Henrik Clarke that we previewed 2 weeks ago on the show. You can support WBAI (and our show) by pledging for a copy of the Dr. Clarke special on CD or donating as little as $5 at WBAI’s secure online donation site.
Watch Giovanni’s inspirational poem after the Virginia Tech shootings.
Watch Giovanni read “Talk to Me Poem, I Think I’ve Got the Blues” on Def Poetry Jam .
Watch Giovanni read from her essay “Gemini”, from her book Gemini.