CSU, Chico News

An Evening with Nikki Giovanni Tomorrow, Friday, October 23

Date: 10-22-2009

Kathleen McPartland
Public Affairs
Tracy Butts
Multicultural and Gender Studies

Grammy-nominated poet, activist and author Nikki Giovanni will present a public reading on Oct. 23, 7 p.m., in the Bell Memorial Union, California State University, Chico. The event is free and open to the public.

Giovanni is a professor of English and the Gloria D. Smith Professor of Black Studies at Virginia Tech, where she has taught since 1987.

Giovanni’s early poetry collections include “Black Feeling, Black Talk” (1967), “Black Judgment” (1968), and “Re: Creation” (1970). More recently, she has published “Bicycles: Love Poems” (2009); “Acolytes” (2007); “The Collected Poetry of Nikki Giovanni: 1968–1998”; and “Quilting the Black-Eyed Pea: Poems and Not-Quite Poems” (2002).

She is also the author of a dozen children’s books, including “Spin a Soft Black Song”; “Ego-Tripping and Other Poems for Young People”; “The Girls in the Circle (Just for You!); and “Lincoln and Douglass: an American Friendship.”

Giovanni contributed an introduction to the anthology “Breaking the Silence: Inspirational Stories of Black Cancer Survivors” (2005). She is a lung cancer survivor herself.

In addition to more than 20 honorary degrees from national colleges and universities, her honors include three NAACP Image Awards for Literature in 1998, the Langston Hughes award for Distinguished Contributions to Arts and Letters in 1996, and a Grammy Award nomination for Best Spoken Word Album in 2004 for “The Nikki Giovanni Poetry Collection.”

She was commissioned by National Public Radio’s All Things Considered to create an inaugural poem for President Barack Obama. Giovanni read poetry at the Lincoln Memorial as a part of the bicentennial celebration of Lincoln’s birth on February 12, 2009.

Giovanni’s visit is the result of a collaboration among many groups, including Committee of Arts and Lectures, the Office of the President, the Office of Diversity, the Department of English, the Center for Multicultural and Gender Studies, the College of Humanities and Fine Arts, the School of Graduate, International and Interdisciplinary Studies, the Residence Hall Association, The Cross Cultural Leadership Center, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Prime Time Productions, First Year Experience, the Vice President for Student Affairs, Writer’s Voice and B.L.O.C. [Black Leaders on Campus student organization?]