The Collected Poetry of Nikki Giovanni: 1968-1998

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Overview

This omnibus covers Nikki Giovanni's complete work of poetry from 1967–1983. THE COLLECTED POETRY OF NIKKI GIOVANNI will include the complete volumes of five adult books of poetry: Black Feeling Black Talk/Black Judgement, My House, The Women and the Men, Cotton Candy on a Rainy Day, and Those Who Ride the Night Winds.

Nikki self–published her first book Black Feeling, Black Talk/BlackJudgement in 1969, selling 10,000 copies; William Morrow published in 1970. Know for its iconic...

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The Collected Poetry of Nikki Giovanni: 1968-1998

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Overview

This omnibus covers Nikki Giovanni's complete work of poetry from 1967–1983. THE COLLECTED POETRY OF NIKKI GIOVANNI will include the complete volumes of five adult books of poetry: Black Feeling Black Talk/Black Judgement, My House, The Women and the Men, Cotton Candy on a Rainy Day, and Those Who Ride the Night Winds.

Nikki self–published her first book Black Feeling, Black Talk/BlackJudgement in 1969, selling 10,000 copies; William Morrow published in 1970. Know for its iconic revolutionary phrases, it is heralded as one of the most important volumes of modern African–American poetry and is considered the seminal volume of Nikki's body of work.

My House (Morrow 1972) marks a new dimension in tone and philosphy––This is Giovanni's first foray into the autobiographical.

In The Women and the Men (Morrow 1975), Nikki displays her compassion for the people, things and places she has encountered––She reveres the ordinary and is in search of the extraordinary.

Cotton Candy on a Rainy Day (Morrow 1978) is one of the most poignant and introspective of all Giovanni's collections. These poems chronicle the drastic change that took place during the 1970s––when the dreams of the Civil Rights era seemed to have evaporated.

Those Who Ride the Night Winds (Morrow 1983) is devoted to "the day trippers and midnight cowboys," the ones who have devoted their lives to pushing the limits of the human condition and shattered the constraints of the stautus quo.

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Editorial Reviews

Ebony
“One of the finest poets of our time. . . Her work still resonates.”
Booklist
“Wise and mischievous, Giovanni is a must-read at every stage if her happily, still growing oeuvre.”
Booklist
“Wise and mischievous, Giovanni is a must-read at every stage if her happily, still growing oeuvre.”
Ebony
“One of the finest poets of our time. . . Her work still resonates.”
Publishers Weekly
With the initially self-published Black Feeling Black Talk (1968) and the same year's Black Judgment, the then 25-year-old Giovanni helped take the Black Arts Movement to national prominence, including TV appearances, a top-selling spoken-word LP, and nine books (counting interviews and anthologies) in the next six years. Giovanni's fiery yet personal early voice struck many listeners as the authentic sound of black militancy: "This is a crazy country," one poem explained, "But we can't be Black/ And not be crazy"; "White degrees do not qualify negroes to run/ The Black Revolution." The '70s saw Giovanni move toward more personal or private concerns: "touching was and still is and will always be the true/ revolution," she concluded in 1972, suggesting a few years later "We gulp when we realize/ There are few choices in life/ That are clear." This volume compiles not all Giovanni's poems but those of her first seven volumes, from Black Feeling to Those Who Ride the Night Winds (1983), which introduced her later "lineless" style ("This is not a poem... this is hot chocolate at the beginning of spring"). Her outspoken advocacy, her consciousness of roots in oral traditions, and her charismatic delivery place her among the forebearers of present-day slam and spoken-word scenes. Virginia C. Fowler provides an ample and diligent introduction, chronology and notes to individual works. Giovanni's planned reading tour for 2003-2004 includes the Javits Center in Manhattan and convention centers in D.C., Philadelphia and Miami-one sign of her unusually large fan base. (Dec.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
This collection expands on a "selected works" released in 1997 by one of America's best-selling poets. Giovanni stared to self-publish poetry in 1968, beginning with Black Feeling Black Talk and an anthology of poetry by black women. She promoted her books with book parties, readings, and arts festivals to an enthusiastic audience and was soon affiliated with Dudley Randall's Broadside Press and then Morrow. While enrolled in Columbia University's M.F.A. program, she moved to the center of the Black Arts Movement, using the media, particularly black journals like Ebony and Negro Digest and the popular television program Soul!, to advance her career, which also included teaching. Her poems embody the spirit of that time, melding radical black politics, antiwar protest, and feminism: "it's father cooking breakfast/ and me getting fat as a hog/ or having no food/ at all and father proving/ his incompetence/ again/ i wish i knew how it would feel/ to be free." Giovanni's work ranges from war chants to love songs and often claims to be not quite poetry: "if this seems/ like somewhat of a tentative poem it's probably/ because I just realized that/i'm bored with categories." Her strongest work began to appear in the early 1970s, with the more reflective poems of "My House." Virginia C. Fowler's preface from the earlier selected work is reprinted here, along with a chronology and explanatory notes. This work includes the six volumes of poetry published through 1983, plus uncollected work since then; her last three volumes of poetry are not represented. Not essential, then, for libraries that have many or all of Giovanni's poetry but a good introduction for libraries not strong in her work.-Ellen Kaufman, Dewey Ballantine LLP Lib., New York Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060724290
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/23/2007
  • Series: P.S. Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 512
  • Sales rank: 427,623
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.02 (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

The Collected Poetry of Nikki Giovanni
1968-1998

On Hearing
"The Girl with
the Flaxen Hair"

He has a girl who has flaxen hair
My woman has hair of gray
I have a woman who wakes up at dawn
His girl can sleep through the day

His girl has hands soothed with perfumes sweet
She has lips soft and pink
My woman's lips burn in midday sun
My woman's hands—black like ink

He can make music to please his girl
Night comes I'm tired and beat
He can make notes, make her heart beat fast
Night comes I want off my feet

Maybe if I don't pick cotton so fast
Maybe I'd sing pretty too
Sing to my woman with hair of gray
Croon softly, Baby it's you

The Collected Poetry of Nikki Giovanni
1968-1998
. 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

Introduction
Chronology
Detroit Conference of Unity and Art (For HRB) 3
On Hearing "The Girl with the Flaxen Hair" 4
You Came, Too 5
Poem (For TW) 6
Poem (For BMC No. 1) 7
Our Detroit Conference (For Don L. Lee) 8
Poem (For Dudley Randall) 9
Poem (For BMC No. 2) 10
Personae Poem (For Sylvia Henderson) 11
Poem (For PCH) 12
Poem (No Name No. 1) 13
Poem (For BMC No. 3) 14
Black Separatism 15
A Historical Footnote to Consider Only When All Else Fails (For Barbara Crosby) 16
Poem (No Name No. 2) 18
The True Import of Present Dialogue, Black vs. Negro (For Peppe, Who Will Ultimately Judge Our Efforts) 19
A Short Essay of Affirmation Explaining Why (With Apologies to the Federal Bureau of Investigation) 21
Poem (No Name No. 3) 23
Wilmington Delaware 24
Letter to a Bourgeois Friend Whom Once I Loved (And Maybe Still Do If Love Is Valid) 27
I'm Not Lonely 30
Love Poem (For Real) 31
For an Intellectual Audience 33
Black Power (For All the Beautiful Black Panthers East) 34
Seduction 35
Word Poem (Perhaps Worth Considering) 36
The Dance Committee (Concerning Jean-Leon Destine) 39
Of Liberation 41
Poem for Black Boys (With Special Love to James) 45
Concerning One Responsible Negro with Too Much Power 47
Reflections on April 4, 1968 49
The Funeral of Martin Luther King, Jr. 51
A Litany for Peppe 52
Nikki-Rosa 53
The Great Pax Whitie 54
Intellectualism 57
Universality 58
Knoxville, Tennessee 59
Records 60
Adulthood (For Claudia) 62
From a Logical Point of View 64
Dreams 67
Revolutionary Music 68
Beautiful Black Men (With compliments and apologies to all not mentioned by name) 70
Woman Poem 71
Ugly Honkies, or The Election Game and How to Win It 74
Cultural Awareness 79
For Saundra 80
Balances 81
For a Poet I Know 82
For Teresa 84
My Poem 86
Black Judgements (Of bullshit niggerish ways) 88
For Tommy 91
Two Poems: From Barbados 92
For Harold Logan (Murdered by "persons unknown" cause he wanted to own a Black club on Broadway) 93
No Reservations (for Art Jones) 94
Alone 96
For Two Jameses (Ballantine and Snow) In iron cells 97
For Gwendolyn Brooks 98
Autumn Poems 99
Rain 100
Poem for Lloyd 101
Housecleaning 102
Poem for Aretha 103
Revolutionary Dreams 106
Walking Down Park 107
Kidnap Poem 109
The Genie in the Jar (for Nina Simone) 110
All I Gotta Do 111
The Game Of Game 113
Master Charge: Blues 114
The Lion In Daniel's Den (for Paul Robeson, Sr.) 115
For A Lady of Pleasure Now Retired 116
2nd Rapp 118
A Robin's Poem 119
Alabama Poem 120
Poem For Unwed Mothers (to be sung to "The Old F.U. Spirit") 122
12 Gates: To The City 123
Ego Tripping (there may be a reason why) 125
A Poem/Because It Came As A Surprise To Me 127
Oppression 128
Toy Poem 129
Some Uses For Them Not Stated 130
Poem For Flora 131
Sometimes 132
Poem For My Nephew (Brother C. B. Soul) 133
Yeah ... But ... 134
Poem For A Lady Whose Voice I Like 135
How Do You Write A Poem? 136
And Sometimes I Sit 138
I Want To Sing 139
Ever Want To Crawl 140
Legacies 143
Mothers 144
A Poem for Carol (May She Always Wear Red Ribbons) 146
A Fishy Poem 147
Winter Poem 148
Conversation 149
Rituals 151
Poem for Stacia 152
The World Is Not a Pleasant Place to Be 153
The Only Song I'm Singing 154
The Butterfly 155
I Remember 156
A Certain Peace 158
When I Nap 159
Mixed Media 160
Just a New York Poem 161
[Untitled] 163
The Wonder Woman (A New Dream - for Stevie Wonder) 164
Categories 165
Straight Talk 167
Scrapbooks 169
When I Die 171
[Untitled] (For Margaret Danner) 173
My Tower (For Barb and Anthony) 174
Poem (For Nina) 175
Africa I 176
Africa II 177
They Clapped 179
Poem (For Anna Hedgeman and Alfreda Duster) 181
Atrocities 182
Nothing Makes Sense 183
I Laughed When I Wrote It (Don't You Think It's Funny?) 185
On Seeing Black Journal and Watching Nine Negro Leaders "Give Aid and Comfort to the Enemy" to Quote Richard Nixon 187
And Another Thing 189
We 191
My House 192
The Women Gather (for Joe Strickland) 197
Once a Lady Told Me 199
Each Sunday 200
The December of My Springs 202
The Life I Led 203
Mother's Habits 204
The Way I Feel 205
Communication 206
Luxury 207
Poem 208
Hampton, Virginia 209
Poetry Is a Trestle 210
The Laws of Motion (for Harlem Magic) 211
Something to Be Said for Silence 213
Africa 215
Swaziland 217
A Very Simple Wish 218
Night 220
Poetry 221
Always There Are the Children 223
Cotton Candy on a Rainy Day 227
Introspection 230
Forced Retirement 232
The New Yorkers 235
Crutches 238
Boxes 240
Poem 242
A Poem Off Center 245
The Winter Storm 247
Age 250
Because 253
Their Fathers 254
Life Cycles 258
Adulthood II 260
Habits 262
Fascinations 264
Gus (for my father) 266
Choices 269
Photography 271
The Beep Beep Poem 272
A Poem for Ed and Archie 274
Woman 275
Space 276
Poem (for EMA) 278
The Rose Bush (for Gordon) 280
Patience 281
Make Up 282
Winter 284
You Are There 285
A Statement on Conservation 287
Turning (I need a better title) 288
A Response (to the rock group Foreigner) 290
A Poem of Friendship 291
Being and Nothingness (to quote a philosopher) 292
The Moon Shines Down 293
That Day 294
Charting the Night Winds 299
Lorraine Hansberry: An Emotional View 301
Hands: For Mother's Day 304
This Is Not for John Lennon (and this is not a poem) 307
Mirrors (for Billie Jean King) 310
Linkage (for Phillis Wheatley) 313
Charles White 316
The Drum (for Martin Luther King, Jr.) 318
A Poem on the Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy 319
Eagles (a poem for Lisa) 320
Flying Underground (for the children of Atlanta) 321
Her Cruising Car: A Portrait of Two Small Town Girls 322
The Cyclops in the Ocean 326
Harvest (for Rosa Parks) 327
Reflections/On a Golden Anniversary 330
Love: Is a Human Condition 331
Sky Diving 332
A Journey 333
Resignation 334
I Wrote a Good Omelet 337
Three/Quarters Time 338
Cancers (not necessarily a love poem) 339
A Word for Me ... Also 341
I Am She (for Nancy) 342
The Room With the Tapestry Rug 343
Wild Flowers 344
Love Thoughts 345
You Were Gone 346
A Song for New-Ark 347
Poem of Angela Yvonne Davis (October 16, 1970) 351
A Poem for langston hughes 356
But Since You Finally Asked (A Poem Commemorating the 10th Anniversary of the Slave Memorial at Mount Vernon) 357
Stardate Number 18628.190 358
Brother Brother Brother (the Isley Brothers of Lincoln Heights) 361
Afterword: Some Poems Are More Useful Than Others 365
Notes to the Poems 369
Index of Titles 439
Index of First Lines 446
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First Chapter

The Collected Poetry of Nikki Giovanni
1968-1998

On Hearing
"The Girl with
the Flaxen Hair"


He has a girl who has flaxen hair
My woman has hair of gray
I have a woman who wakes up at dawn
His girl can sleep through the day



His girl has hands soothed with perfumes sweet
she has lips soft and pink
My woman's lips burn in midday sun
My woman's hands--black like ink



He can make music to please his girl
Night comes I'm tired and beat
He can make notes, make her heart beat fast
Night comes I want off my feet



Maybe if I don't pick cotton so fast
Maybe I'd sing pretty too
Sing to my woman with hair of gray
Croon softly, Baby it's you

The Collected Poetry of Nikki Giovanni
1968-1998
. Copyright © by Nikki Giovanni. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Read More Show Less

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