Blues: For All the Changes: New Poems


Intimate, edgy, and unapologetic, Blues: For All the Changes bears the mark of Nikki Giovanni's unmistakable voice.In a career that has spanned three decades, Giovanni has created an indispensable body of work and earned a place amoung the nation's most celebrated and controversial poets; Gloria Naylor calls her "one of our national treasures." Now, in these fifty-two new poems, Giovanni brings the passion, fearless wit, and intensely personal self that have defined her life's ...

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Blues: For All the Changes: New Poems

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Intimate, edgy, and unapologetic, Blues: For All the Changes bears the mark of Nikki Giovanni's unmistakable voice.In a career that has spanned three decades, Giovanni has created an indispensable body of work and earned a place amoung the nation's most celebrated and controversial poets; Gloria Naylor calls her "one of our national treasures." Now, in these fifty-two new poems, Giovanni brings the passion, fearless wit, and intensely personal self that have defined her life's work to a new front.

Invoking the fates and exalting the rhythm of the everyday, Giovanni writes with might and majesty. From the environment to our reliance on manners, from sex and politics to love among Black folk, Blues is a masterwork with poems for every soul and every mood: The poignant "Stealing Home" pays tribute to Jackie Robinson, while "Road Rage Blues" jams on time and space; Giovanni celebrates love's absolut power in "Train Rides" and laments life's trasience in "Me and Mrs. Robin." With the tenderness that has made her on of our most accessible and beloved poets, Giovanni evokes a world that is not only just but also happy. Her powerful stand engages the world with a truth telling that is as eloquent as it is elegant.

Intimate, edgy, and unapologetic, Blues For All the Changes bears the mark of Nikki Giovanni's unmistakable voice. At once political and intensely personal, this long-awaited volume embodies the fearless passion and wit that have made Nikki Giovanni one of our most accessible poets; her audience defies all boundaries of race, class, age, and style.

From the poignant "Stealing Home," Ms. Giovanni's tribute to Jackie Robinson, to the defiant "Road Rage Blues," a jam on time and space, these fifty-one poems challenge the fates and invoke the precarious state of our environment, Giovanni's battle with illness, manners, and other topics seminal to one of our most compassionate, outspoken observers.

With a reverence for the power of language, Blues For All the Changes will once again enchant Nikki Giovanni's extensive following and inspire those who are newly discovering her work.

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Editorial Reviews

Gwendolyn Brooks
Nikki Giovanni's work has always been remarkable for energy, venturesomeness, direct honesty, and courage.
New York Times
Nikki Giovanni is as outspoken, prolific and energetic as ever.
Gloria Naylor
Nikki Giovanni is one of our national treasures. For decades she has offered her wit an wisdom, her bruising honesty and, above all, her unbounded love through. . . poems as a healing for herself, her community, and her country.
Lorene Carey
Giovanni's poetry heals and struts, mourns and celebrates with restorative wit.
New York Daily News
[Nikki Giovanni] is fiery yet tender, political but down-home, beautiful at heart, but not afraid to finger ugliness.
Library Journal
Social and/or political poetry often fails because it loses touch with humanity; it gets distracted by issues and forgets about the impact of things on people. Giovanni never loses sight of the people in her work. In poems built with broken lines and paragraphs of prose, she spars with the ills that confront us, but every struggle has a human face. Ask Roger Woody, of the Woody Pipe and Excavating Company, who is destroying the wonderful woodland adjacent to Giovanni's home and readying it for a new housing development. When a young basketball star is harassed for his youth and style ("Iverson"), she assumes the role of compassionate but stern sister. She is no less forthcoming with her opinions of the President and his woes. At times you wonder what makes these soapbox oratories poems. You will not find many familiar rhetorical devices here, but you will want to dance to the music, the rhythms and language, the sound and exacting energy of these poems--which is more than enough.--Louis McKee, Painted Bride Arts Ctr., Philadelphia Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The much-published Giovanni has been amply rewarded for a career that•s been spotty to say the least. Unlike fellow doggerelist Maya Angelou, Giovanni has no prose works of distinction•her Racism 101 (1994) hardly measures up to Angelou•s moving memoirs. So her reputation rests largely with her poetry, which, given this latest volume, is a sad spectacle: a lazy collection of prose rants with lots of ellipses to disguise the scatter-brained thinking. Her litanies of racist episodes from history, her ghetto-thug affectations, and her Oprahesque bits of uplift are all tired rhetorical devices and rely on a vocabulary of pop journalism and advertising (•No problem / No Sweat / Just Jazz•). Things turn so embarrassingly strange here that Giovanni mentions five or so times her personal animus toward a real-estate developer in her hometown who threatens the view from her backyard. A typical stream-of- consciousness bit links Lena Horne, Billie Holiday, black holes in science, and Sally Hemmings. Another celebrates the author and other revolutionary poets for understanding •the power of a poem,• with asides on the Nation of Islam and dietary habits. Giovanni•s political views become seriously discomfiting when her peroration on civil rights devolves into a chilling prescription for utopia. Elsewhere, she defends the presidential penis and offensively
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780688156985
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/28/1999
  • Pages: 112
  • Sales rank: 1,387,547
  • Product dimensions: 5.31 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 0.53 (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

Blues: For All the Changes
New Poems

The Wrong Ktchen

Grandmother would sit me
between her legs
to scratch my dandruff
and unravel my plaits

We didn't know then
dandruff was a sign of nervousness
hives tough emotional decisions
things seen that were better unseen

We thought love could cure
anything a doll here a favorite
caramel cake there

The arguments the slaps the chairs
banging against the wall
the pleas to please stop
would disappear under quilts aired
in fresh air
would be forgotten after Sunday School
teas and presentations for the Book Club

We didn't know then why I played
my radio all night
and why I kept a light burning

We thought back then it was my hair
that was nappy

So we—trying to make it all right—
straightened the wrong kitchen

Blues: For All the Changes
New Poems
. 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

flatted thirds and sevenths 1
The Wrong Kitchen 3
Sound in Space 5
Nothing Is Just 8
A Real Pisser 9
A Rap for Lorraine 11
The Faith of a Mustard Seed 12
Visible Ink 15
And How Could I Live On 17
This Poem Hates 19
Not Just Truman's Baby 22
One More Boxcar 24
Nobody Trusts Silence 25
the President's Penis 27
the Inaugural poem 28
Just Jazz 31
Stealing Home 32
Opening Day or Hey! Start a Contest 34
A Counting Game 37
2 Word Poem 38
Monday 41
Road Rage 44
Reading Lesson 49
Truthtelling 50
Be My Baby 52
Somewhere Sometimes 53
I Can Sing 55
A Civil Rights Journey 56
Train Rides 59
The Poem for Frances Brown 64
Yvonne and David 65
For Just One Moment 67
This Poem 68
fugue 71
Me and Mrs. Robin 73
Progress 77
In Which Case 78
Writing Lessons 80
Iverson's Posse 82
Mrs. Bat 85
Clouds 86
Seeds 87
Sunday 88
The Things We Love About Winter 89
On My Journey Now 90
A Blackbird on My Knee 91
The Little Choo Choo Train 92
Convenient Haystacks 93
Lasso the Sun 94
Kiss a Frog 95
The Rain 96
One Stops on My Windowpane 97
Brought 2 U by ... 98
The Last Poem 99
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 3 of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2000

    Great Poet

    She is an outstanding poet. She expresses herself in a powerful way. I love her.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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