The poetry of Nikki Giovanni has always interested me. A prominent and respected african-american poet, Giovanni's poetry evokes very strong racial pride and delivers a sense of family that only her poetry can convey.
Although a white person like myself can never pretend to understand what it is like to be black, Nikki's poetry is written in such a way that I feel different while I'm reading it.
A beautiful experience, really.
Most of her most famous works of poetry were published during the late 1960's and early 1970's -- a time in which admittedly she must have shown great bravery and relied on her inner strength and resolve to write and publish her poems.
Here is one of my favorites, and it clearly shows her beautiful respect for family.
childhood remembrances are always a drag
if you’re Black
you always remember things like living in Woodlawn
with no inside toilet
and if you become famous or something
they never talk about how happy you were to have
all to yourself and
how good the water felt when you got your bath
from one of those
big tubs that folk in chicago barbecue in
and somehow when you talk about home
it never gets across how much you
understood their feelings
as the whole family attended meetings about Hollydale
and even though you remember
your biographers never understand
your father’s pain as he sells his stock
and another dream goes
And though you’re poor it isn’t poverty that
and though they fought a lot
it isn’t your father’s drinking that makes any difference
but only that everybody is together and you
and your sister have happy birthdays and very good
and I really hope no white person ever has cause
to write about me
because they never understand
Black love is Black wealth and they’ll
probably talk about my hard childhood
and never understand that
all the while I was quite happy