Life and Work
Nikki Giovanni was born Yolande Cornelia Giovanni Jr., June 7, 1943, in Knoxville, Tennessee. However, she was raised in the Lincoln Heights neighborhood of Cincinnati, Ohio. She was born to a working class family; her father, Gus Jones Giovanni, was a probation officer, and her mother, Yolande Cornelia Giovanni, was a social worker. Her parents emphasized the value of an education and hard work; they constantly encouraged her to read and gave her chores to do as a little girl that earned her allowance. She believes these work ethics helped her become successful in college, as she graduated with honors from Fisk University with a bachelor of arts degree in 1967 (“An Interview, Scholastic 1). Although she only attended the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Work for one semester in late 1967, this was a crucial time in her development as a writer. Not only was 1967 the year she composed much of her first volume of poems, but it was also the year she decided that she was meant for a career in writing after all, and not one in social work (Fowler, Nikki Giovanni, 13).
After college, Giovanni started her own publication company, NikTom Ltd, at the age of twenty seven. She explains why she started her own publishing company: “I formed a publishing company to promote the first book; it’s a business situation. That’s how we did it, and sold the books. You have to separate business and art. I didn’t want to go to a publisher because I didn’t want to be rejected” (“The Authority” 1). Giovanni has been writing books for more than thirty years now and has published more than thirty books and hundreds of essays and poems with major publishers. Nikki Giovanni has enjoyed a remarkably successful career as a poet. She describes the key to her success:
If I were advising someone on a writing career, the deal is this: write. If you get published, good. If somebody pays you, better, because you have to eat, but the deal is you have to write. You see people who say, I want to have a writing career. If you ask them what they are writing, they say, Well, I’m not working on anything right now. No, no, no. . . . that’s not the way. You have to write. (“The Authority” 1)
Giovanni has received hundreds of accolades and twenty-one honorary doctorates from universities across the country. Since 1987, she has taught writing and literature at Virginia Tech University where she is a University Distinguished Professor. The love which Nikki Giovanni has for writing inspires not only her students, but also a new audience of readers. Her ever-growing fan base ensures that she will be writing and publishing for years to come.
Nikki Giovanni has written and published numerous works appealing to readers of all ages and races. Her works take on various subjects, from race and love to the memory of fallen rapper and modern day American icon Tupac Shaukur. It is also her fresh, contemporary writing style that has contributed to her success with many generations.
Nikki Giovanni’s strong language and rebellious stand against white repression made her an influential voice in the 1960s Black Arts Movement. It is her continuous attempt to tackle the problems and oppression Blacks face in African-American communities that have made her an important voice to today’s society of passionate readers. Giovanni’s readers also appreciate her poetic interest in love. Love Poems is a series representing Giovanni’s attempt to discover and teach youthful readers the power of love, not just love for another, but love and respect for oneself. These topics have been explored by African American writers before; however, it is Giovanni’s approach that attracts young Black readers suffering from nihilism and xenophobia.
The poem “Cotton Candy on a Rainy Day” is a prime example of that struggle. The poem explores the loneliness that Black women may experience on a daily basis due to the pressures of being in a country that does not understand them and tells them that African beauty is inferior to European beauty. When these young women ask
What this decade will be
There is no doubt it is
loneliness. (Collected 227)
These simple lines encompass so much: the feeling of helplessness to which many Black women can relate, as well as a degree of despondency that is also the plight of too many young Black women in this country. Giovanni’s ability to speak so directly and simply to complex realities is one of the reasons she is so popular.
Another example of this effective strategy may be found in the poem “Nikki-Rosa.” The poem explores the importance of close families, even or especially when monetary advantage is lacking. Here her subject is Black wealth: strong family ties. Having a close and loving relationship with one’s mother, father, grandparents, and siblings is something many middle and upper class white families today do not enjoy—perhaps due to the very stresses and lifestyle demands that money brings—to the extent that the speaker of this poem does. Giovanni explains in the poem that
Black love is Black wealth and they’ll
probably talk about my hard childhood
and never understand that
all the while I was quite happy (Collected 53).
Giovanni’s poor and working class Black readers might especially appreciate the uplifting message of this poem, while “privileged” white readers might productively rise to her challenge: “I really hope no white person ever has cause / to write about me / because they never understand” (Collected 53). Giovanni’s constant guard against the harmful effects of dominant white society on American Blacks contributes to her popularity among a Black readership similarly on guard. And to many readers, her work offers a sense of hope where there otherwise is none.
Perhaps ironically, one of Giovanni’s most beloved poems does not tackle the issue of race; instead, it is an ode to the power of poetry itself. She is very playful in the playfully titled “Kidnap Poem.” Giovanni’s punning and wordplay are most evident in lines like “lyric you in lilacs / dash you in the rain / blend into the beach.” Another strategy in this poem is that it is written almost from a child’s perspective, giving readers the sense of a kid dreaming about having the power of a poet: “yeah if i were a poet i’d kid / nap you,” says the speaker. Ironically, she is already doing exactly that, and all the while maintaining a pro-Black stance with the mention of the colors “red Black green” (the colors of the African liberation flag) and the capitalization of the word “Black” (Collected 109). Poems like this show Giovanni at her best, a strong, even militant, Afro-American woman with a sense of humor.
Yet Giovanni’s poetry appeals to readers in both Black and white society. The range of topics she addresses – topics relevant to so many people regardless of race, economic class, age—as well as her genuine voice and fresh style, keep her current. Here is a sincere poet not interested in being trendy, but in genuinely tackling difficult issues. She wants to help that Black girl who is feeling isolated and unattractive because of the media’s focus on European standards of beauty. She wants to help that girl that feels misunderstood by her country; she wants to be there for that couple that has fallen in and out of love. Nikki Giovanni has in many ways become a mother to a whole generation through her writing, while helping to make poetry accessible and relevant to today’s young avid readers.
Publications and Awards
By the Author
Books of Poetry
- Black Feeling, Black Talk. Detroit: Broadside, 1968. 2nd ed. New York: Afro Arts, 1968. 3rd ed. Detroit: Broadside, 1970.
- Black Judgment. Detroit: Broadside, 1968.
- Black Feeling, Black Talk / Black Judgment. New York: Morrow, 1970.
- Blues: For All the Changes: New Poems. New York: Morrow, 1999.
- The Collected Poetry of Nikki Giovanni, 1968-1998. New York: Morrow, 2003
- Cotton Candy on a Rainy Day. New York: Morrow, 1978. New York: Morrow Quill, 1980. New York: Perennial-Harper, 2001.
- Love Poems. New York: Morrow, 1997.
- My House. New York: Morrow, 1972, 1973.
- A Poem for Langston Hughes. Monterey, KY: Larkspur Press, 1994.
- Poem of Angela Yvonne Davis. New York: Afro Arts, 1970.
- Quilting the Black-Eyed Pea: Poems and Not Quite Poems. New York: Morrow, 2002.
- Re: Creation. Detroit: Broadside, 1970.
- The Selected Poems of Nikki Giovanni, 1968-1995. New York: Morrow, 1996.
- Those Who Ride the Night Winds. New York: Morrow, 1983.
- The Women and the Men. New York: Morrow, 1975. New York: HarperCollins, 2002.
- Covers. Illus. Shonto Begay. Glenview, IL: Scott Foresman, 1993.
- Ego-Tripping and Other Poems for Young People. Illus. George Ford. New York: Lawrence Hill, 1973. 2nd ed. 1993.
- The Genie in the Jar. Illus. Christopher Raschka. New York: Holt, 1996.
- The Girls in the Circle. Illus. Cathy Ann Johnson. New York: Scholastic, 2004.
- Knoxville, Tennessee. 1970. Illus. Larry Johnson. New York: Scholastic, 1994.
- Rosa. Illus. Bryan Collier. New York: Holt, 2005. New York: Scholastic, 2006.
- Spin a Soft Black Song. Illus. Charles Bible. New York: Hill and Wang, 1971. Rev. ed. Illus. George Martins, New York: Hill and Wang, 1985, 1987.
- The Sun Is So Quiet. Illus. Ashley Bryan. New York: Holt, 1996.
- Vacation Time: Poems for Children. Illus. Marisabina Russo. New York: Morrow, 1980, 1981.
- A Dialogue: James Baldwin and Nikki Giovanni. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1973. London: Joseph, 1975.
- Gemini: An Extended Autobiographical Statement on My First Twenty-Five Years of Being a Black Poet. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1971. New York: Viking, 1973.New York: Penguin, 1976.
- A Poetic Equation: Conversations Between Nikki Giovanni and Margaret Walker. Washington, D.C.: Howard UP, 1974. Rev. ed. 1983.
- The Prosaic Soul of Nikki Giovanni: New York: Harper Perennial, 2003.
- Racism 101. New York: Morrow, 1994.
- Sacred Cows . . . and other Edibles. New York: Morrow, 1988, 1989.
- The Afro-American Woman Magazine
- Black Creation
- Black Graphics International
- Black Works
- Black World
- Eastside/Westside News
- Encore American and Worldwide News
- Journal of Black Poetry
- Negro Digest
- Tennessee English Journal
- Viva: The International Magazine for Women
- A Way out of No Way: Writing about Growing up Black in America. Ed. Jacqueline Woodson. New York: Holt, 1996.
- African American Literature: An Anthology of Nonfiction, Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. Ed. Demetrice A. Worley. Lincolnwood, IL: National Textbook Co., 1993.
- Best Black Women’s Erotica. Ed. Blanche Richardson. San Francisco: Cleis Press, 2001.
- Black Review. Ed. Mel Watkins. New York: Morrow, 1971.
- BlackSpirits: A Festival of New Black Poets in America. Ed. Woodie King. New York: Random House, 1972.
- Brothers and Sisters. Ed. Arnold Adoff. New York: MacMillan, 1970.
- Dream Me Home Safely: Writers on Growing up in America. Ed. Susan Richards Shreve. Boston: Houghton, 2003.
- From My People: 400 Years of African-American Folklore. Norton, 2002.
- Her Words: Diverse Voices in Contemporary Appalachian Women’s Poetry. Ed. Felicia Mitchell. Knoxville: U Tennessee P, 2002.
- I Am the Darker Brother: An Anthology of Modern Poems by African Americans. Ed. Arnold Adoff. New York: Aladdin, 1997. Rev. ed. New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 1997.
- Life: Through Black Eyes. Ed. Cornell Reese and Derrel R. Todd. Washington: ROM Productions, 1995.
- Lift Every Voice and Sing: A Celebration of the Negro National Anthem. Ed. Julian Bond and Kathryn Wildon. New York: Random House, 2000.
- Old Thoughts: New Voices. Cincinnati: New Voices, 1982.
- Poetry Speaks to Children. With CD. Ed. Elise Paschen. Naperville, Ill: Sourcebooks, 2005.
- Reading Rooms. Ed. Susan Allen Toth and John Couglan. New York: Doubleday, 1991.
- Revolutionary Tales: African American Women’s Short Stories, from the First Story to the Present. Ed. Bill Mullen. New York: Laurel, 1995.
- Women Working: An Anthology of Stories and Poems. Ed. Nancy Hoffman and Florence Howe. New York: Feminist Press at the City University of New York, 1979.
- Field & Dreams: Ohio’s Wild Life: Poetry and Fiction. With Clarence Major. Cincinnati: Arts Consortium, 1979.
- Appalachian Elders: A Warm Hearth Sampler. With C. Dennison. Blacksburg, Virginia: Pocahontas Press, 1991.
- Grand Fathers: Reminiscences, Poems, Recipes and Photos of the Keepers of Our Traditions. New York: Holt, 1999.
- Grand Mothers: Poems, Reminiscences, and Short Stories about the Keepers of Our Traditions. New York: Holt, 1994.
- Night Comes Softly: Anthology of Black Female Voices. Newark: Medic, 1970.Shimmy, Shimmy, Shimmy like My Sister Kate: Looking at the Harlem Renaissance through Poems. New York: Holt, 1996.
- “400 Mulvaney Street.” Bloodroot: Reflections on Place by Appalachian Women Writers.” Ed. Joyce Dyer. Lexington, KY: UP of Kentucky, 1998. 132-39.
- Afterword. A Singer in the Dawn: Reinterpretations of Paul Lawrence Dunbar Ed. Jay Martin. New York: Dodd, Mead, 1975. 243-46.
- “Aftra: A Rip-Off.” Encore American & Worldwide News 4(8 Sep. 1975): 28-29.
- “An Answer to Some Questions on How I Write: In Three Parts.” Black Women Writers (1950-1980): A Critical Evaluation. Ed. Mari Evans. Garden City, NY: Anchor, 1984. 205-10.
- “Are Unions Good for the Schools?” Encore American & Worldwide News 4 (20 Oct. 1975): 48.
- “Before and Beyond Nixon: An Interview with James MacGregor Burns. Encore 3. (June 1974): 40-42.
- “Campaign 1976: Hubert Humphrey.” Encore American & Worldwide News 5 (3 May 1976): 18.
- “Campus Racism 101.” Essence Aug. 1991: 71-72.
- “Celebrating the Human Species.” Encore American & Worldwide News 7(18 Dec. 1978): 20- 23.
- “Decoding Carter’s Message.” Encore American & Worldwide News 8 (19 Mar. 1979): 13.
- “The Dream and Hope, the Nightmare of Reality: Closing the Gap for Our Youth.” Reflections of the Dream: 1975-1994, Twenty Years Celebrating the Life of Dr.
- Martin Luther King, Jr. at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Ed. Clarence G. Williams. Cambridge, MA: MIT P, 1996.
- “An Emotional View of Lorraine Hansberry.” Freedomways 19 (1979): 281-82.
- “Feeling: Mankind’s Last Frontier.” San Francisco Examiner 14 July 1975.
- “First Steps Toward a True Revolution.” Negro Digest 16 (Dec. 1966): 86-88.
- Foreword. African American Literature: An Anthology of Nonfiction, Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. Ed. Demetrice A. Worley. Lincolnwood, IL: National Textbook Co., 1993.
- Foreword. Smith, Jessie Carney. Black Heroes. Detroit: Visible Ink Press, 2001.
- Foreword. Black Protest Poetry: Polemics from the Harlem Renaissance and the Sixties. Ed. Margaret Ann Reid. New York: P. Lang, 2001.
- Foreword. BlackSpirits: A Festival of New Black Poets in America. Ed. Woodie King. New York: Random House, 1972.
- Foreword. Bugul, Ken. The Abandoned Boabab: The Autobiography of a Senagalese Woman. New York: Lawrence Hill Books, 1991.
- Foreword. Gossett, Gigi. By Any Other Name. Leawood, KS: Leathers Pub. Co., 2004.
- Foreword. Honey Hush: An Anthology of African American Women’s Humor. Ed. Daryl Cumber Dance. New York: Norton, 1998.
- Foreword. I Am the Darker Brother: An Anthology of Modern Poems by African Americans. Ed. Arnold Adoff. New York: Aladdin, 1997.
- Foreword. Images of Blacks in American Culture: A Reference Guide to Information Sources. Ed. Jessie Carney Smith. New York: Greenwood, 1988.
- Foreword. Paint Me Like I Am: Teen Poems. From WritersCorps. New York: Harper, 2003.
- “The Great Stonewaller.” Encore American & Worldwide News 5 (22 Mar. 1976): 36.
- “How Will We Raise Our Children in the Year 2000?” Saturday Review of Education 10 Feb. 1973: 30-31.
- “I Fell off the Roof One Day (A View of the Black University).” The Black Woman: An Anthology. Ed. Toni Cade Bambara. New York: Signet, 1970. New York: Washington Square Press, 2005.
- Introduction. Discourses in Dialect: 10 New Black Poets. New York: Blackface Books, 1992.
- Introduction. The Inner City Mother Goose. Ed. Eve Merriam and David Diaz. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996.
- Introduction. Roy, Lucinda. Wailing the Dead to Sleep. London: Bogle-L’Ouveerture, 1988.
- Introduction. Sebastian, Adele Stephanie. Intro to Fine. San Francisco: WIM, 1985.
- Introduction. Whitehead, Jim. Black Love, Black Hate. Cincinnati: Okeelo Press, 1971.
- “Kapo.” Encore 9 (Sep. 1973): 56.
- “Kennedy: Is Congress A Conspirator?” Encore American & Worldwide News 6 (6 June 1977): 8.
- “Leave It to Cleaver.” Encore American & Worldwide News 4 (19 May 1975): 26.
- “A Lesson in Human Relationships.” Encore 2 (Oct. 1973): 47.
- “Lois Lane Knows.” Encore 3 (Jan. 1974): 22.
- “Mankind Had Better Shape Up.” Encore 2 (Aug. 1973): 60.
- “Martin Luther King, Jr.: A Different Drummer.” Encore 3 (Feb. 1974): 34-35.
- “A Message from Phyllis Hyman’s Lifetime.” Eagle and Swan 4 (Sept. 1979): 22-25.
- “Mother to Mother.” Essence Sept. 1984: 154, 175.
- “My Road to Virginia.” Ohioanna Quarterly 44.1 (1991): 2-7.
- “My Own Style.” Essence 16 (May 1985): 60, 62.
- “No Business like Snow Business.” Encore 3 (Nov. 1974): 21.
- “Number, Pu-leeze.” Encore 2 (Nov. 1973): 27.
- “The Poet’s Mind: A Positive Look Toward the Year 2000. Spelman Magazine 101 (Winter 1985): 10-11.
- “Preventive Maintenance.” Encore 2 (July 1973): 33.
- “Response to a Letter from Ron Welburn.” Negro Digest 18 (May 1969): 97-98.
- “Rev. Ike – ‘You Can’t Lose With the Stuff I Use.” Encore American & Worldwide News 4 (17 Mar. 1975): 21- 25.
- “Revolution: A Definition.” Conversation 4 (June 1967): 7-8.
- “Same Old Voices, Same Old (Smoke-filled) Rooms.” Encoer American & Worldwide News 6 (21 July 1977): 48.
- “Saturday Days.” Dream Me Home Safely: Writers on Growing up in America. Ed. Susan Richards Shreve. Boston, MA: Houghton, 2003. 65-7.
- “The Silent Revolution of the Domestic Worker.” Encore American & Worldwide News 4 (23 June 1975): 36.
- “Soul Impressions.” Image 8 (Jan. 1971): 12-13.
- “A Very Special Christmas.” Essence Dec. 1970: 50.
- “We Must Do It Ourselves.” Encore 3 (Mar. 1974): 27.
- “What I Would Like To Have Happen in 1971.” Contact 2 (Jan. 1971): 10.
- “The Whole Point Is to Share.” International Educational and Cultural Exchange 10 (Summer 1974): 20-22.
- “Why Landlords Get Relief.” Encore American & Worldwide News 4 (18 Aug. 1975): 32.
- “Why We Are Brokers At The Table of Peace.” Encore American & Worldwide News 8 (15 Oct. 1979): 8-9.
- “Why Weren’t Our ‘Sisters in Liberation’ in Boston?” Encore American & Worldwide News 4 (6 Jan. 1975): 20.
- “Writing and Being.” Career Insights (1984): 98-99.
Recordings / Spoken Word
- The African American Audio Experience: With an original Introduction by Nikki Giovanni. 5 CDs. Prod. and dir. Rick Harris. Caedmon, 2002.
- Cotton Candy on a Rainy Day. LP. Folkways, 1978. Audiocassette. Smithsonian/ Folkways, 1991.
- “Dance Poem.” BBC Programme, 1990.
- “The Drum.” Prentice-Hall Choices in Literature. Audiocassette. Prentice-Hall, 1998.
- “That Day.” LP. Capitol, 1997.
- Ego-Tripping. Brown Baby, 2000.
- “Ego-Tripping.” I’m a Good Woman 2: Funk Classics from Sassy Soul Sisters. CD. Harmless, 2001.
- An Evening with Nikki Giovanni. Videocassette. Visiting Black Scholars. Tidewater Community College, 1996.
- “Great Pax Whitey.” Harmless, 2000.
- “I Am She.” Our Souls Have Grown Deep Like the Rivers: Black Poets Read Their Work. 2 CDs. Ed. Rebekah Presson and Al Young. Rhino/World Beat, 2000.
- “Kidnap Poem.” Elements of Literature Comprehensive Audio Program. Holt, 1997.
- Knoxville, Tennessee. Living in Our World: Text on Tape. Harcourt, 1997.
Knoxville, Tennessee. Greatest Hits. CD. Poetry Alive!, 1999.
- Legacies. LP and Audiocassette. Folkways, 1976. CD. Smithsonian/Folkways, 1990.
- Like A Ripple on a Pond. With the New York Community Choir. Cond. Benny Diggs. LP. NikTom, 1973. CD. Collectables, 1993.
- Nikki Giovanni in Philadelphia. CD. Collectables, 1997.
- The Nikki Giovanni Poetry Collection. CD. Caedmon, 2002.
- “Nikki-Rosa.” Experiencing Literature Audio Library. EMC Corporation, 1998.
- Poems. CD. Collectables, 2002.
- Poems, selections. Words Like Freedom: Sturdy Black Bridges. Videocassette. Kentucky Educational Television, 1997.
- Poems, selections. Furious Flower: Conversations with African American Poets. Vol. 2, Warriors. Videocassette. San Francisco: California Newsreel, 1998.
- Re: Creation. Audiocassette. Broadside, 1970.
- The Reason I like Chocolate. LP and Audiocassette. Folkways, 1976. CD. Smithsonian/ Folkways, 1992.
- Spirit to Spirit. PBS Special, 1987. Prod. and dir. Mirra Banks. Videocassette. Direct Cinema, 1988.
- Stealing Home: For Jack Robinson. Sony, 1997.
- “Stealing Home.” Oh, How They Lived: Stories of the Negro Leagues Part III. Yabba Biri Productions, 1999.
- Tell About the South. Agee Films, 1999.
- Tell It on the Mountain: Appalachian Women Writers. 7 Audiocassettes. WMMT- FM/ AppalShop, 1995. 1997.
- “Things That Go Together/And I Have You.” My Funny Valentine: A Jazz andPoetry Lovefest. Sung by The Western Wind Vocal Ensemble. Perf. Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee. Western Wind 1997.
- Truth Is on Its Way. 1971. With the New York Community Choir. Cond. Benny Diggs. CD. Collectables, 1993.
- The Way I Feel. CD. Collectables, 1995.
- National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, 1968
- Harlem Cultural Council, 1969
- Ebony Magazine, Woman of the Year, 1970
- Mademoiselle Magazine, Woman of the Year, 1971
- Ladies’ Home Journal, Woman of the Year, 1972
- National Association of Radio and Television Announcers Award for Best Spoken Word Album, for Truth Is on Its Way, 1972
- National Book Award Nomination for Gemini, 1973
- The Post-Corbett Award, 1986
- The Children’s Reading Roundtable of Chicago Award for Vacation Time, 1988
- The Ohioana Library Award for Sacred Cows, 1988
- Tennessee Writer’s Award, The Nashville Banner, 1994
- Parent’s Choice Award for The Sun Is So Quiet, 1996
- Tennessee Governor’s Award in the Humanities, 1996
- The Langston Hughes Award, City College of New York, 1996
- Contributor’s Arts Award, The Gwendolyn Brooks Center for Black Literature and Creative Writing, 1996
- Living Legacy Award, Juneteenth Festival of Columbus, Ohio, 1998
- NAACP Image Award for Love Poems, 1998
- National Literary Hall of Fame for Writers of African Descent, the Gwendolyn Brooks Center of Chicago State University, 1998
- Tennessee Governor’s Award in the Arts, 1998
- The Appalachian Medallion Award, University of Charleston, 1998
- NAACP Image Award for Blues: For All The Changes, 1999
- Virginia Governor’s Award for the Arts, 2000
- Rosa Parks Women of Courage Award (First Recipient), 2002
- American Library Association’s Black Caucus Award for Non-Fiction for Quilting the Black-Eyed Pea, 2003
- NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work for Quilting the Black-Eyed Pea, 2003
- Nominated for a Best Spoken Word Grammy in the 46th Annual Grammy Awards for The Nikki Giovanni Poetry Collection, 2004
Criticism and Interviews
About the Author
- Anon. “Princess of Black Poetry: Nikki Giovanni.” Soul Sounds & Stars 15 Aug. 1971.
- Applebee, Arthur N. “Nikki Giovanni.” The Language of Literature. Illinois: McDougal Littell, 2000.
- Bailey, Peter. “Nikki Giovanni: ‘I Am Black, Female, Polite…’” Ebony Feb. 1972: 48- 50.
- Barksdale, Richard K. “Humanistic Protest in Black Poetry.” Modern Black Poets: A Collection of Critical Essays. Ed. Donald B. Gibson. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice, 1973. 157-64.
- Barnes, Brandi S. “Nikki Giovanni.” Seanna: For Women of Color in Today’s World (Feb. 1985).
- Batman, Alex. “Nikki Giovanni.” American Poets since World War II. Ed. Donald J. Greiner.Dictionary of Literary Biography. Vol. 5, part 1. Detroit: Gale, 1980. 289-90.
- Becarra, Cynthia S. “The Poetry of Nikki Giovanni.” Masterpieces of African- American Literature. Ed. Frank N. Magill. New York: HarperCollins, 1992.
- Bell, Bernard W. “New Black Poetry: A Double-Edged Sword.” CLA Journal 15 (Sept. 1971): 37-43.
- Bloom, Lynn Z. “Heritages: Dimensions of Mother-Daughter Relationships in Women’s Autobiographies.” The Lost Tradition: Mothers and Daughters in Literature. Ed. Cathy N. Davidson and E. M. Broner. New York: Ungar, 1980. 291-303.
- Boldridge, Effie. J. “Windmills or Giants? The Quixotic Motif and Vision in the Poetry of Nikki Giovanni.” Griot. 14.1 (1995): 18-25.
- Boldridge, Effie. J. “Windmills or Giants? The Quixotic Motif and Vision in the Poetry of Nikki Giovanni.” MAWA Review 10.1 (June 1995): 39-48.
- Brooks, A. Russell. “The Motif of Dynamic Change in Black Revolutionary Poetry.” CLA Journal 15 (1971): 7-17.
- Brooks, A. Russell. “Power and Morality as Imperative for Nikki Giovanni and James Baldwin: A View of A Dialogue.” James Baldwin: A Critical Evaluation. Ed. Therman B. O’Daniel. Washington, D.C.: Howard UP, 1977. 205-09.
- Christian, Barbara T. Black Feminist Criticism: Perspective on Black Women Writers. New York: Pergamon, 1985.
- Coffin, Patricia. “Nikki Giovanni: Princess of Black Poetry.” Single (Dec. 1973).
- Cook, Martha. “Nikki Giovanni: Place and Sense of Place in Her Poetry.” Southern Women Writers: The New Generation. Ed. Tonette Bond Inge. Tuscaloosa: U of Alabama P, 1990. 279-300.
Cook, William. “The Black Arts Poets.” The Columbia History of American Poetry. Ed. Jay Parini and Brett C. Millier. New York: Columbia UP, 1993. 674-706.
- Davis, Arthur P. “The New Poetry of Black Hate.” Modern Black Poets: A Collection of Critical Essays. Ed. Donald B. Gibson. Englwood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice, 1973. 147-56.
- Day, Frances, A. “Nikki Yolanda Giovanni.” Multi-cultural Voices in Contemporary Literature.Portsmouth: Heinemann, 1999.
- Deen, Lango. “Technology and Culture: Nikki Giovanni Discusses Internet Life.” U.S. Black Engineer & Information Technology. July/Aug. 2002. 52-53.
- Di Christina, S. J. “Tips for Young Readers on Two Poems by Nikki Giovanni.” ELF: Electronic Library Forum 4.3 (Fall 1994): 18.
- Duffy, Martha. Rev. of Gemini. Time 17 Jan. 1972: 63-64.
- Dusky, Lorraine. “Fascinating Woman.” Ingenue (Feb. 1973).
- Fabio, Sarah Webster. Rev. of Black Feeling, Black Talk/ Black Judgement. Black World 19 (Dec. 1970): 102-04.
- Fletcher, Gilbert. Painted Voices: An Artist’s Journey into the World of Black Writers. New York: CNG Editions, 2002.
- Fowler, Virginia. Nikki Giovanni. New York: Twayne, 1992.
- Fowler, Virginia. “Nikki Giovanni.” The Oxford Companion to African American Literature. Ed. William L. Andrews, Frances Smith Foster, and Trudier Harris. New York: Oxford UP, 1997.
- Fowler, Virginia. “‘And This Poem Recognizes That’: Embracing Contrarieties in the Poetry of Nikki Giovanni.” Her Words: Diverse Voices in Contemporary Appalachian Women’s Poetry.
Ed. Felicia Mitchell. Knoxville: Tennessee UP, 2002. 112-35.
- Fox-Genovese, Elizabeth. “My Statue, My Self: Autobiographical Writings of Afro-American Women.” The Private Self: Theory and Practice of Women’s Autobiographical Writings. Ed. Shari Benstock. Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 1988. 63-89.
- Georgoudaki, Ekaterini. Race, Gender, and Class Perspective in the Works of Maya Angelou, Gwendolyn Brooks, Rita Dove, Nikki Giovanni, and Audre Lorde. Thessaloniki, Greece: Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 1991.
- Georgoudaki, Ekaterini. “Nikki Giovanni: The Poet as Explorer of Outer and Inner Space.” Women, Creators of Culture. Ed. Ekaterini Georgoudaki and Domna Pastourmatzi. Thessaloniki:
Hellenic Association of American Studies, 1997. 153-70.
- Georgoudaki, Ekaterini. “Contemporary Black American Women Poets: Resisting Sexual Violence.” Journal of American Studies of Turkey, 3 (1996): 107-24.
- Giddings, Paula. “Nikki Giovanni: Taking a Chance on Feelings.” Black Women Writers (1950-1980): A Critical Evaluation. Ed. Mari Evans. New York: Anchor/ Doubleday, 1984. 211-17.
- Giddings, Paula. Rev. of Gemini. Black World 21 (Aug. 1972): 51-52.
- Givens, Archie. “The Genie in the Jar.” Strong Soul Singing: African-American Books for Our
Daughters and Our Sisters. New York: Norton, 1998.
- Gould, Jean. Modern American Women Poets. New York: Dodd, Mead, 1984.
- Harris, Trudier. “Bad Woman.” The Oxford Companion to African American Literature. Ed. William L. Andrews, Frances Smith Foster, and Trudier Harris. New York: UP of Oxford, 1997.
- Harris, Trudier and Thadious M. Davis, eds. Afro-American Poets Since 1955. Dictionary of Literary Biography 41. Detroit, Gale, 1985.
- Harris, William J. “Sweet Soft Essence of Possibility: The Poetry of Nikki Giovanni.” Black Women Writers (1950-1980): A Critical Evaluation. Ed. Mari Evans. New York: Anchor/Doubleday, 1984. 218-28.
- Henderson, Stephen. Understanding the New Black Poetry: Black Speech and Black Music at Poetic References. New York: Morrow, 1973.
- Jago, Carol. “‘I Ate a Poem’: Nikki Giovanni’s Descriptive Powers.” Writing 25.1 (2002): 17-19.
- Jago, Carol. Nikki Giovanni and the Classroom. Urbana, Illinois: National Council of Teachers of English, 1999.
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