07 June 2012


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: 

Love Is
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

Love is 
You and me

This and many other beautiful poems can be found in Love Poems by Nikki Giovanni

We Real Cool

Today would have been the 94th birthday of Gwendolyn Elizabeth Brooks, but she passed away sadly on December 3, 2000 after a battle with Cancer. Brooks was the first African American to win the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry for her 2nd book of Poetry entitled, Annie Allen in 1950. She was also named Poet Laureate of Illinois in 1968 and Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry for the Library of Congress in 1985.

We Real Cool


We real cool. We
Left school. We

Lurk late. We
strike straight. We

Sing sin. We 
Thin gin. We

Jazz June. We
Die soon.

This poem can be found in  The Bean Eaters.