Poet Praise: Nikki Giovanni

Introducing Living Legend:

Nikki Giovanni

nikki-giovanni

If you don’t understand yourself you don’t understand anybody else.

*Preview an excerpt from one of my favorite poems by Nikki:

Cotton Candy on a Rainy Day

Don’t look now
I’m fading away
Into the gray of my mornings
Or the blues of every night

Is it that my nails
keep breaking
Or maybe the corn
on my second little piggy
Things keep popping out
on my face
or
of my life

It seems no matter how
I try I become more difficult
to hold
I am not an easy woman
to want

They have asked
the psychiatrists     psychologists     politicians and
social workers
What this decade will be
known for
There is no doubt          it is
loneliness…

 

Click here to read the poem in it’s entirety.

Click here to learn more about Nikki Giovanni at the Poetry Foundation.

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Poet Praise: James Weldon Johnson

In Honor of Black History Month

Harlem Renaissance Poet:  James Weldon Johnson
(1871-1938)

 james-weldon-johnson

You are young, gifted, and black we must begin to tell our young…

Excerpt from his poem, Art vs. Trade.

…Life as an Octopus with but this creed,
That all the world was made to serve his greed;
Trade has spread out his mighty myriad claw,
And drawn into his foul polluted maw,…

Click here to read the poem in it’s entirety.

Poet Praise: Anne Spencer

In Honor of Black History Month

Harlem Renaissance Poet:  Anne Spencer (1882-1975)

anne-spencer

Good communication is as stimulating as black coffee, and just as hard.

Excerpt from her poem, Translation.

…Our deeper content was never spoken,
But each knew all the other said.
He told me how calm his soul was laid
By the lack of anvil and strife…

Click here to read the poem in it’s entirety.

Poet Praise: Claude McKay

In Honor of Black History Month

Harlem Renaissance Poet:  Claude McKay (1890-1948)

claude-mckay

Human dignity is more precious than prestige.

Excerpt from his poem, America.

…I love this cultured hell that tests my youth.
Her vigor flows like tides into my blood,
Giving me strength erect against her hate,
Her bigness sweeps my being like a flood…

Click here to read the poem in it’s entirety.

Poet Praise: Georgia Douglas Johnson

In Honor of Black History Month

Harlem Renaissance Poet:  Georgia Douglas Johnson
(1886-1966)

georgia-douglas-johnson

Your world is as big as you can make it.

Excerpt from her poem, Common Dust.

…Here lies the dust of Africa;
Here are the sons of Rome;
Here lies one unlabelled
The world at large his home!…

Click here to read the poem in it’s entirety.