Poetry News

Nikki Giovanni praises poetry and Nancy Pelosi

By Poetry Foundation

Nikki Giovanni will at the Harold Washington Library in Chicago next Saturday in celebration of National Poetry Month. She took a few minutes to talk about her favorite books, poems, and people.

What line or poem do you find yourself sharing again and again?

Mostly I find folks really like and relate to lines from “Ego Tripping.” I think it may be my swan song.

On your bookshelf but unread:

The books I now collect are read and cherished. I read electronically so there is nothing on my bookshelf unread. Right now I am researching cancer so I am reading The Emperor of All Maladies. Song Yet Sung by James McBride is a great recent favorite of mine. I've read it three times and am still finding things I overlooked.

Can you remember the first poem you read and really liked?

My mother used to read my sister and I from Robert Louis Stevenson. I always loved "Where Go the Boats" because I dreamed of journeys to places unknown.

A cause you would attach your name to:

Civil rights. There are still so many people who are being silenced for a variety of reasons. We still need a strong civil rights voice. I am a proud lifetime member of the NAACP.

The picture that comes to mind when you hear the word “poetry”:

Poetry is the bottom line when it comes to accolades. I think ‘high praise’ when I hear "that is poetry in a bottle" or "that is poetry in motion" or a comparison of anything to poetry.

If forced to quote your own writing, what line or poem would you provide?

I would decline.

Expression you greatly dislike:

I dislike "role model" a lot.

The longest amount of time you’ve gone without writing [creatively]?

I am creative because I am always learning.

Favorite public figure:

My favorite public figure is Nancy Pelosi.

Favorite literary device:

My favorite literary device is truth.

When I think of Chicago, I think of ___________.

My good friend Morris Gearring and the great steaks and great conversation we have shared.

Originally Published: April 18th, 2011