The Collected Poetry of Nikki Giovanni: 1968-1998
Few poetry anthologies could be used as supplemental material in a history class, yet this collection, spanning three decades, cries out to be studied in universities and on porch stoops during warm spring evenings. Running the gauntlet of personal demons, love and tragedy, Giovanni takes us on a journey through her own growth as a woman and a poet, and through the difficult growth of our nation. The opening pieces present a ferocious, unchecked anger that lashes out at a country in the midst of its civil-rights movement; Giovanni’s poems are so carefully crafted that their structure superbly braces their chaotic force. As they progress, the poet softens her edge, but she’s never at all guarded about opening our eyes and souls to the world as it is.