Furious Flower

The Living Truth: The Life and Work of Nikki Giovanni

Sun, 16 Jun 2019 5:00 PM - Sat, 22 Jun 2019 12:00 PM

James Madison University
Festival Student & Conference Center
Summer 2019

Information and registration for the 2021 Legacy Seminar will be available Winter 2020. View participant reflections from the 2019 Legacy Seminar here.


From June 16-22, 2019, Furious Flower was proud to present Nikki Giovanni as the distinguished poet of the Summer Legacy Seminar. From Sunday evening to Saturday, educators, poets, and faculty learned from a living legend with poetry workshops, panels, and engaged discussions focused on Giovanni's work. The seminar featured faculty members recruited from around the country, including Dr. Margo Crawford, Dr. Virginia Fowler, Dr. Emily Lordi, and Dr. Howard Rambsy. In addition, representatives from the Wintergreen Women Writers Collective, of which Giovanni is a member, presented a panel. Distinguished scholars Dr. Daryl L. Dance, Dr. Carmen Gillespie, and Dr. Trudier Harris also presented a panel. 

 Schedule Here


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. 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.  

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