Furious Flower

The Living Truth: The Life and Work of Nikki Giovanni

Sun, 16 Jun 2019 9:00 AM - Sat, 22 Jun 2019 3:00 PM

From June 16-22, 2019, Furious Flower is proud to present Nikki Giovanni as the distinguished poet of the Summer Legacy Seminar. This week-long event will welcome educators, poets, and faculty to learn from a living legend with poetry workshops, panels, engaged discussions, and a public reading on June 21st. 


Powerful, prolific, and unabashedly political, Nikki Giovanni is a poet whose work and career has left its imprint on the American literary landscape, but more importantly, has been considered a hallmark of Black cultural production. From her first collection, Black Talk Black Feeling (1968), which focused on Black oppression, anger, and its roots in events such as the assassination of historical figures like Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., and Robert Kennedy, to her later works such as Acolytes (2007) and A Good Cry (2017), Giovanni's poetics remains one of radical honesty, social engagement, and deep intimacy. Gwendolyn Brooks testified that "Nikki Giovanni's work has always been remarkable for energy, venturesomeness, fierce honesty and courage," and Giovanni's commitment to telling the truth as she sees it as an integral part of her success over the 50 years of her career.

Born in Knoxville, Tennessee in 1943 and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, Giovanni graduated from Fisk University with a history degree and went on to graduate programs at the University of Pennsylvania and Colombia. Giovanni's first collection of poetry received many accolades and sold over ten-thousand copies, and she has since published over 40 books, including poetry collections, children's books, and edited volumes. Her honors include: the National Council of Negro Women Award, the National Association of Radio Award, the Langston Hughes Medal, the Rosa Parks Women of Courage Award, seven NAACP Image Awards, and over twenty honorary degrees from universities around the country. Giovanni is currently a University Distinguished Professor at Virginia Tech, where she has taught since 1987. In 2004, she was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from Furious Flower Poetry Center. 

Registration information TBA. 

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