Bicycles: Love Poems

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IN A CAREER THAT HAS EARNED her accolades, honorary degrees, and awards from both fellow poets and everyday poetry lovers, Nikki Giovanni has established herself as a writer who can entertain and challenge, inform and inspire. Sometimes controversial, sometimes ethereal, but always beautiful, her poems move readers of all hues and generations.

With Bicycles, she's collected poems that serve as a companion to her 1997 Love Poems. An instant classic, that book—romantic, bold, and ...

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Bicycles: Love Poems

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Overview

IN A CAREER THAT HAS EARNED her accolades, honorary degrees, and awards from both fellow poets and everyday poetry lovers, Nikki Giovanni has established herself as a writer who can entertain and challenge, inform and inspire. Sometimes controversial, sometimes ethereal, but always beautiful, her poems move readers of all hues and generations.

With Bicycles, she's collected poems that serve as a companion to her 1997 Love Poems. An instant classic, that book—romantic, bold, and erotic—expressed notions of love in ways that were delightful unexpected. In the years that followed, Giovanni experienced losses both public and private. A mother's passing, a sister's, too. A massacre on the campus at which she teaches. And just when it seemed life was spinning out of control, Giovanni rediscovered love—what she calls the antidote. Here romantic love—and all its manifestations, the physical touch, the emotional pull, the hungry heart—is distilled as never before by one of our most talented poets.

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Editorial Reviews

Essence
“Easily one of [Giovanni’s] most powerful offerings to date.”
Christian Science Monitor
“Bicycles is powered as much by Giovanni’s warmth and authenticity as by her words.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061726453
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/13/2009
  • Pages: 128
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 7.00 (h) x 0.57 (d)

Meet the Author

Nikki Giovanni

Nikki Giovanni, poet, activist, mother, and professor, is a seven-time NAACP Image Award winner and the first recipient of the Rosa Parks Woman of Courage Award, and holds the Langston Hughes Medal for Outstanding Poetry, among many other honors. The author of twenty-eight books and a Grammy nominee for The Nikki Giovanni Poetry Collection, she is the University Distinguished Professor of English at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia.

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Read an Excerpt

Bicycles

Blacksburg Under Siege: 21 August 2006

(for Carolyn Rude)

Not safe . . . not even all that nice . . . when you think about it . . . What mean fraternity boys do with their fists . . . and drunk fraternity boys do with their penises . . . barefoot boys do with guns . . . Whether it's a redneck screaming "nigger" . . . or a poet hollering "titties" . . . illegal and unkind behavior tells someone s/he doesn't belong . . . check it . . . check it out . . .

Not nice . . . No . . . And no reason to feel safe

A good day . . . someone pointed out . . . however . . . to be black . . . or a woman . . . and not be hunted . . . and not have to hold your head down . . . and not have to quiver . . . when you pass a man . . . police . . . or professional . . . yet still knowing . . . at any given moment . . . you are a target . . .

"They didn't move fast enough" . . . they cried . . . "They could have done more" . . . they demanded . . . "More to let us hold on to our illusions of safe . . . to let us hold on to our illusion of fair . . . to let us hold on to our illusions . . . illusions . . . illusions" . . . And whether it was a bullet flying or an animal cracker coming straight at you . . . it was an attack . . . And yes . . . maybe there could be faster motion . . . faster lockdown . . . faster dismissal . . . but hey there is the bigger picture . . . and after all he didn't mean it . . . his leg was sprained . . . he's so intelligent . . . so talented . . . so special . . . he didn't realize his heart was blind . . . he didn't understand he was causing pain . . . Bang! Bang . . . he sang . . . I shot you Down but I really didn't havea gun . . . and just because you're dead . . . doesn't mean I really did it . . .

I shot the deputy . . . hey hey . . . he sings . . . but I only pretended with the rest of you

And in the end he was very careful with himself . . . Sure not to be treated the way he treated McFarland and Sutphin . . . Avoiding the knockout blow or killer smile he dealt the man who came when he called "Help" . . . Silencing his victims with death for their goodwill and sense of decency . . . Or their pity for him . . . Do all the sane and sober things to protect yourself, Monster . . . so that you can plead Innocent By Reason of Not Paying Close Attention . . . Threaten us that you can make Blacksburg not ever be the same again . . .

But we will be the same . . . willful ignorance will overpower indignation every time . . .

That still does not make us nice . . . and it sure doesn't make us safe

Bicycles. Copyright © by Nikki Giovanni. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Table of Contents

Blacksburg Under Siege: 21 August 2006 1

In Simpler Times 3

If Only 4

Field Notes 6

Migrations 8

I Am Jazz 11

Shoo Jazz Blue Jazz 12

The 3rd Rail 13

I Am Confused 15

My New Car 16

Dinner At Nine 17

My Muse 19

I Am Glass 21

No Heaven 22

Alehemical 23

Your Shower 25

Good Night 26

My Sleep 28

Bicycles 29

I Like The Dance 31

I Would Not Be Different 32

Give It A Go? 34

Another Day (Revisited) 36

Christmas Laughter 39

I Want A Shoe 41

A Drunken Phone Call 43

A Substitute For You 44

I Know The Song 46

I Am A Mirror 48

Everything Good Is Simple 49

Deal Or No Deal 50

I Provide 52

Gray Clouds Hover 54

I Am The Ocean 55

I Clean 57

So Enchanted With You 59

How To Save The World 61

Free Huey 62

My Beer 64

They Think 66

Why Don't You Love Me 67

First Chair 69

Friends and Lovers 71

Love (And The Meaning Of Love) 72

Flight Delay 73

Travelers 74

Trash Pans 75

Letting The Air Out 76

Fame 79

Duets 81

Boiled Blues 83

Love Luther 86

A Song For You 88

Friends In Love 89

No Translations 90

Twirling 92

Good Books 93

Got A Minute (To Fall In Love?) 95

Where Do Yon Enter 97

Tourism 99

The Scenic Route 100

Tree Line 101

The Artist 102

A Fish Out of Water 105

We Are Virginia Tech 107

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 18 )
Rating Distribution

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(6)

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(4)

2 Star

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(3)

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Sort by: Showing all of 18 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 16, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    I was captivated with Giovanni!

    This is an extremely entertaining poet that touches the soul, warming it in the process. Nikki Giovanni will entrance and enthrall anyone who dares read a passage. I especially loved her willingness to confront her true emotions, spun in a way that enlightens the reader into seeing the world in a new inspiring way. <BR/><BR/>Being an English teacher, a poet and writer of novels George¿s Pond and West¿s Time Machine, I was enthralled that Giovanni touches on the most sensitive of memories, those of pain and those of passion. She is wonderfully unpredictable in her poems, whisking the reader into her world, but never is the reader alone, but caringly guided in a way that will allow for a breathtaking journey.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2013

    ?????????????...

    What is it about?

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 18, 2010

    ALL HAIL NIKKI GIOVANNI !!!!

    What an amazing collection this reading was! And the thematic subject matter the title entails was elusive. So simplistic, so true, so awesome! I absolutely loved this book. She definitely knows how to put together phrases and make words make sense together. An amazing talent.

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  • Posted June 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The softer side of Nikki Giovanni

    In typical Nikki Giovanni fashion, she lures you into her world and the universal experience of love. You don't feel like you're being bashed over the head with bland generalities though; there's something personal (as there always is) about the stories being told through the poems. I'm not an avid poetry reader, but I've always loved Giovanni's simple yet powerful expression. She makes you think, reflect, and best of all, smile.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2009

    Pleasant Poetry

    There were little moments that seemed wonderful, but in some ways it just seemed too personal. Too many of the poems seemed like "mash" notes. I loved the fact that my husband gave it to me, though!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    A book far bigger on the inside than the outside.

    I saw Nikki Giovanni in her interview/conversation with Bill Moyers several weeks ago and had to have her book. The poems are clear without being didactic, their meanings plain but not simple.
    Writing "about" poetry seems silly. If you've had an important love in your life, you'll like this one--if you give it to that person, they might love it more.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 6, 2009

    POETS AND "NON-POETS" WILL BE TOUCHED

    This noted poet has the ability to zero in on emotions experienced by all readers--particularly women--and stir them to recognize the human needs we all experience. She does this with a wonderful sense of humor! This is a 5 star poet and writer.

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  • Posted March 30, 2009

    Another great collection

    Nikki Giovanni returns with a collection of poetry that reminds me why I fell in love with her work in the first place. Open hearted and relatable this work expresses love in a way that is rarely spoken. I treated myself to this book as a valentines day gift and I am so glad that I did!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    What a woman!

    Ms. Giovanni poignantly depicts the longing, satisfaction and youthfulness present in women in mid-life. Her spritely way of telling "love stories" in which she may have played the fool, tugged at my heart and had me nodding my head in recognition. My goal is to surround myself with women like Ms. Giovanni.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted February 15, 2009

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    Posted February 15, 2009

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    Posted February 23, 2010

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    Posted February 21, 2009

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    Posted February 5, 2010

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    Posted January 26, 2010

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