Nikki Giovanni was born Yolande Cornelia Giovanni, June 7, 1943 and is celebrating her 69th birthday today, so I am also celebrating her. She is a poet, writer, commentator, activist and educator. Giovanni currently holds the title of Distinguished Professor of English at Virginia Tech University and there are rumors that she will be returning to her alma mater Fisk University to teach English (I do hope so, I'd love to take a class under her tutelage).
The only book of poetry of hers that I own is the one she wrote and dedicated to Tupac Shakur entitled Love. The books dedication speaks volumes:
FOR TUPAC SHAKUR (1971-1996)
a lover whose love was often deliberately misunderstood but who will live in the sun and the rains and whose name will echo through all the winds whose spirit will flower and who like Emmett Till and Malcolm X will be remembered by his people for the great man he could have become and most especially for the beautiful boy that he was
My favorite poem from this book:
Some people forget that love is
tucking you in and kissing you "Good night"
no matter how young or old you are
Some people don't remember that love is
listening and laughing and asking questions
no matter what your age
Few recognize that love is
commitment responsibility no fun at all
You and me
This and many other beautiful poems can be found in Love Poems by Nikki Giovanni