Nikki Giovanni

Literary Birthday – 7 June – Nikki Giovanni

Happy Birthday, Nikki Giovanni, born 7 June 1943.


  1. I want to be clear about this. If you wrote from experience, you’d get maybe one book, maybe three poems. Writers write from empathy.
  2. I’m glad I understand that while language is a gift, listening is a responsibility.
  3. We write because we believe the human spirit cannot be tamed and should not be trained.
  4. Poetry and music are very good friends. Like mommies and daddies and strawberries and cream – they go together.
  5. Art is not for the cultivated taste. It is to cultivate taste.
  6. Some say we are responsible for those we love. Others know we are responsible for those who love us.
  7. Nothing is easy to the unwilling.
  8. I always loved English because whatever human beings are, we are storytellers. It is our stories that give a light to the future.
  9. If everybody became a poet the world would be much better. We would all read to each other.
  10. The catchword I use with my classes is: The authority of the writer always overcomes the scepticism of the reader.
  11. If you know what you’re talking about, or if you feel that you do, the reader will believe you.
  12. You must be unintimidated by your own thoughts because if you write with someone looking over you shoulder, you’ll never write.

Nikki Giovanni is an American writer, commentator, activist, and educator. The author of more than 30 books, she is currently a professor of English at Virginia Tech. Her works include Rosa and Cotton Candy on a Rainy Day.

Source for Image: Author’s website

by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 7th June 2013

0 thoughts on “Literary Birthday – 7 June – Nikki Giovanni”

  1. Judy Lee Thurber

    In my younger days, I was profoundly touched by a poem attributed to this fine lady. I’ve researched to the ends of the Internet and have not been able to find the poem again. Someone who said that she works with Nikki Giovanni assured me it was not hers. Hello deadend! The opening line was “One gray day, I’ll find a tear on my cheek and not remember shedding it.” I wonder if I’ll ever find the rest of the poem.