Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Poet: Nikki Giovanni
I heard poet, Nikki Giovanni, being interviewed today and was touched by her engaging honesty, warmth, empathy and sense of humor. She has been writing for over thirty years. In reading her biography, I was struck by the following line: her focus is on the individual, specifically, on the power one has to make a difference in oneself, and thus, in the lives of others. She is a University Distinguished Professor at Virginia Tech, and wrote a stirring poem that she read after the massacre that occurred on April 16, 2007 leaving 32 students dead. Her words resonated at a time of great sorrow.
Through her career, she has written over 30 books, many of them works of poetry. She said in her interview that poetry is what we turn to during the important moments in life: weddings, births, deaths, tragedies and celebrations. She also commented on how poetry allows for clear and honest expressions of love. Her most recent book is called Bicycles: Love Poems and indicates that the balance and trust needed to ride a bike are the very same things needed to enter into a successful love relationship. She believes in love and the possibilities that exist through love in this world.
There was one comment that really stuck with me today. She said in a discussion of excessive internet use, "If you let too much in, pretty soon you don't know what is yours and what is someone elses." She has someone who manages her website and she chooses to personally interact very little with computers. She tries to remain uncluttered so that her creativity flows naturally from her mind and from her experiences. While understanding the value of computers and the internet, she voices caution to protect what is our core being from being diluted by excess. It's a message worth heeding from a woman who's creativity is still flourishing.