Ms. Giovanni

I think even before I was even able to speak out my thoughts and feelings, I understood poetry and its rhythm. Still today, as an ever-pressing adult, I hear the rhythm in words and the nature of how innocently they sound when spoken within several layers of each other. I love this gift and I thank God for giving me an ear to understand what is usually said under one’s poetic breath. A wise poet should always an even wiser listener.

On another note, my passion for writing poetry gives way to an even deeper passion for reading poetry. Nikki Giovanni, who has always provided me with sound resolution as poet, has a wonderful poem that despite its short stature, it’s a Napoleon of a poem and resonates like a category 5 hurricane within my soul. I found this poem a few years ago since this gem of a find, I have read this poem at the beginning of every poetry reading I’ve ever hosted or been involved with. It’s called Communication and it’s fitting for what we are sharing at this moment:

Communicati on

if music is the most universal language
just think of me as one whole note

if science has the most perfect language
picture me as MC2

since mathematics can speak to the infinite
imagine me as 1 to the first power

what i mean is one day
i’m gonna grab your love
and you’ll be

Here’s a brief bio of Nikki Giovanni:

Nikki Giovanni was born Yolande Cornelia Giovanni, Jr. on June 7th, 1943 in Knoxville, Tennessee, but was later raised in the Lincoln Heights neighborhood of Cincinnati, Ohio. She attended the all-black Fisk University, where she became involved in both the Writers’ Workshop and the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee. The connections between literature and politics would continue to absorb her attention for decades to come. In 1967, she became actively involved in the Black Arts movement, a loose coalition of African-American intellectuals who wrote politically and artistically radical poems aimed at raising awareness of black rights and promoting the struggle for racial equality. Radicalized by the assassination of Malcolm X and by the rise of the militant Black Panthers, her poetry in the 1960s and 1970s was colorful and combative; a recurrent theme of this era is the possible redundancy of poetry in the face of possible revolution. Nikki Giovanni is now a professor at Virginia Tech, where she currently teaches English.

She is truly an amazing voice, spirit, and beacon for how poets should examine their work but most of all, she is a realistic approach to taking a very simple element and making it completely and utterly intimate.

M.C. Davis