Writer, Poet, Activist and Educator MY HOUSE i only want to be there to kiss you as you want to be kissed when you need to be kissed where i want to kiss you cause its my house and i plan to live in it i really need to hug you when i want to hug you as you like to hug me does this sound like a silly poem i mean its my house and i want to fry pork chops and bake sweet potatoes and call them yams cause i run the kitchen and i can stand the heat i spent all winter in carpet stores gathering patches so i could make a quilt does this really sound like a silly poem i mean i want to keep you warm and my windows might be dirty but its my house and if i can't see out sometimes they can't see in either english isn't a good language to express emotion through mostly i imagine because people try to speak english instead of trying to speak through it i don't know maybe it is a silly poem i'm saying it's my house and i'll make fudge and call it love and touch my lips to the chocolate warmth and smile at old men and call it revolution cause what's real is really real and i still like men in tight pants cause everybody has some thing to give and more important need something to take and this is my house and you make me happy so this is your poem
Nikki Giovanni was born June 7, 1943 in Knoxville, Tennessee, to Yolande Cornelia, Sr. and Jones “Gus” Giovanni. She grew up in Lincoln Heights, a suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio, and in 1960 began her studies at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, her grandfather’s alma mater. She graduated in 1967 with honors, receiving a B.A. in history. Afterward she went on to attend the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University.
In 1969 Giovanni began teaching at Livingston College of Rutgers University, and since 1987, she has taught writing and literature at Virginia Tech, where she is a University Distinguished Professor. She has received nineteen honorary doctorates and other awards, including “Woman of the Year” awards from three different magazines as well as the key to several different cities. She is a member of the Order of the Eastern Star (PHA), and an Honorary Member of Delta Sigma Theta sorority.
Giovanni taught the Virginia Tech shooter Seung-Hui Cho in a poetry class. She described him as “mean” and “menacing”, when she approached the department chair to have Cho taken out of her class, and said she was willing to resign rather than continue teaching him. She stated that, upon hearing of the shooting, she immediately suspected that Cho might be the shooter. On April 16, 2007, at the Virginia Tech Convocation commemorating the April 16 Virginia Tech massacre, Giovanni closed the ceremony with a chant poem, intoning:
We know we did nothing to deserve it. But neither does a child in Africa dying of AIDS. Neither do the invisible children walking the night awake to avoid being captured by a rogue army. Neither does the baby elephant watching his community being devastated for ivory. Neither does the Mexican child looking for fresh water…We are Virginia Tech…We will prevail.
On August 21, 2007, The Tennessean reported that Giovanni is returning to her alma mater as a distinguished visiting professor at Fisk University.
The civil rights and black power movements inspired her early poetry that was collected in Black Feeling, Black Talk (1967), Black Judgement (1968), and Re: Creation (1970). She has since written more than two dozen books, including volumes of poetry, illustrated children’s books, and three collections of essays. Her writing has been heavily inspired by African-American activists and artists.
Her book Love Poems (1997) was written in memory of Tupac Shakur and she has stated that she would “rather be with the thugs than the people who are complaining about them.”
Giovanni tours nationwide and frequently speaks out against hate-motivated violence.
At a 1999 Martin Luther King Day event, she recalled the 1998 murders of James Byrd, Jr. and Matthew Shepard: “What’s the difference between dragging a black man behind a truck in Jasper, Texas, and beating a white boy to death in Wyoming because he’s gay?”
Those Who Ride the Night Winds (1983) acknowledged black figures. Giovanni collected her essays in the 1988 volume Sacred Cows … and Other Edibles. Some of her more recent works include Acolytes, a collection of eighty new poems, and On My Journey Now. Acolytes is her first published volume since her 2003 Collected Poems. It tones down the militant, edgy conscience for which Giovanni is known and portrays her softer, more nostalgic side. The work is a celebration of love and recollection directed at friends and loved ones and it recalls memories of nature, theater, and the glories of children. However, Giovanni’s fiery persona still remains a constant undercurrent in Acolytes, as some of the most serious verse link her own life struggles (being a black woman and a cancer survivor) to the wider frame of African-American history and the continual fight for equality.
Giovanni’s collection, Bicycles: Love Poems (2009), is a companion work to her 1997 Love Poems. They touch on the deaths of both her mother and her sister, as well as the massacre on the Virginia Tech campus. Giovanni chose the title of the collection as a metaphor for love itself, “because love requires trust and balance.” The work portrays her life as it spins out of control and love, which she prescribes as the antidote. The poems come alive with her warmth and authenticity, a stark foil to the militant, edgy work that laid a path towards becoming one of the prominent voices of the black community.
In 2004, Giovanni was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album at the 46th Annual Grammy Awards for her album The Nikki Giovanni Poetry Collection. She also featured on the track “Ego Trip By Nikki Giovanni” on Blackalicious‘s 2000 album Nia. In November 2008, a song cycle of her poems, Sounds That Shatter the Staleness in Lives by Adam Hill, was premiered as part of the Soundscapes Chamber Music Series in Taos, New Mexico.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.
Black Feeling, Black Talk (1967)
Black Judgement (1968)
Re: Creation (1970)
My House (1972)
The Women and The Men (1975)
Cotton Candy on a Rainy Day (1978)
Those Who Ride The Night Winds (1983)
Knoxville, Tennessee (1994)
The Selected Poems of Nikki Giovanni (1996)
Love Poems (1997)
Blues: For All the Changes (1999)
Quilting the Black-Eyed Pea: Poems and Not Quite Poems (2002)
The Prosaic Soul of Nikki Giovanni (2003)
The Collected Poetry of Nikki Giovanni (2003)
Bicycles: Love Poems (2009) (William Morrow)
A Dialogue with James Baldwin (1973)
Rosa with Bryan Collier (2005)
Harlem Stomp!: A Cultural History of the Harlem Renaissance with Laban Carrick (2009)
Spin a Soft Black Song (1971)
Ego-Tripping and Other Poems For Young People (1973)
Vacation Time: Poems for Children (1980)
The Genie in The Jar (1996)
The Sun Is So Quiet (1996)
The Girls in the Circle (Just for You!) (2004)
Poetry Speaks to Children: A Celebration of Poetry with a Beat (2005) [advisory editor]
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is my hero. In the face of adversity he stood tall and led protests to challenge Jim Crow laws, equality issues, and voting rights. I am honored to have witnessed history in the making fifty years ago. About 200,000 people gathered to march on Washington D.C. in 1963 to voice discontent with a way of life, imposed on the black race, that was demoralizing, oppressive, and racist. People from all walks of life and color laid their lives on the line and marched on Washington D.C.
I was nine years old when this historical march took place. In my home the adults were “fired-up.” The atmosphere was filled with excitement, hope, and anticipation, that this march would make a difference.
I witnessed the events of that day watching it unfold on TV. There was much talk about what could happen to the marchers converging upon Washington D.C. I was fearful. I heard about people being killed for protesting. I’d seen on TV how brutal some were treated during various protests. Water hoses were used to stop the protesters. Dogs were un-leached and ordered to attack those participating in a peaceful march for equality. I thought riots would occur in my neighborhood. I thought the government might come and kill us. I thought the Black Panthers would start a race war. These were the anxieties I experienced during such tumultuous times.
Although I am unable to be in Washington D.C. to participate in the march, I stand in solidarity with all of my brothers and sisters who are there honoring this day.
I am proud to be an American, a Black Woman, living in the greatest country on earth.
In the words of the late, great, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “Let Freedom Ring.”
Love, light, and blessings
In April, Maya Angelou was interviewed by Oprah on her 70+ birthday. Oprah asked her what she thought of growing older.
She said it was ‘exciting…’
Regarding body changes,she said there were many, occurring every day…..like her breasts.
They seem to be in a race to see which
will reach her waist, first.
The audience laughed so hard they cried.
She is such a simple and honest woman,
with so much wisdom in her words!
Maya Angelou said this:
‘I’ve learned that no matter what happens,
or how bad it seems today,
life does go on,
and it will be better tomorrow.’
‘I’ve learned that you can tell a lot
about a person by the way he/she
handles these three things:
a rainy day,
and tangled Christmas tree lights.’
‘I’ve learned that regardless of your
relationship with your parents,
you’ll miss them when they’re gone
from your life.’
‘I’ve learned that making a ‘living’ is not
the same thing as ‘making a life..’
‘I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you
a second chance.’
‘I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go
through life with a catcher’s mitt on
both hands; you need to be able to
throw some things back…’
‘I’ve learned that whenever I decide
something with an open heart,
I usually make the right decision.’
‘I’ve learned that even when I have pains,
I don’t have to be one.’
‘I’ve learned that every day you should
reach out and touch someone.
People love a warm hug, or just a friendly
pat on the back…’
‘I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn…’
‘I’ve learned that people will forget what you said,
people will forget what you did,
but people will never forget
How you made them feel.’
Recently during meditations I received impressions, and visions that I was undecided about sharing. I also had a wonderful experience when I walked my little Sugar the other night that I want to share. Initially I was hesitant to post my experiences. I realized I was hesitant because of fear. Fear of ridicule, fear of judgment, fear that others may think I’m one sandwich short of a picnic. Lol
This is my truth. I refuse to be controlled by fear. If anything, I feel that by sharing my experiences it might help others, who may be experiencing the same things that I am.
During meditation I asked for a name of one of my guardians or to see one of my guardians. I saw the colors purple, green, lilac, and splashes of light. Then I received an impression of an old book. It was open. Thick, hard bound, and the pages were kind of a yellowish, brown, color. The lettering was old, world penmanship (looked like Calligraphy). The information I received was, this was a book I had written in another life.
Then I had a vision of a woman wearing a 1940s, long sleeved suit that was either brown, or burgundy. The woman looked familiar to me. Then I got she is my grandmother (my mother’s mother) and one of my guardians. Wow!
After having these two visions back to back, I began to analyze what I received. This can’t be what I think it is. Why do I think I wrote that book back in the 17th century? I’m misunderstanding what I’m receiving. And about my grandmother being my guardian, that is far fetched. I never knew her. She crossed over when my mother was six years old. How can she be one of my guardians? If she is, does that means she is still in the spirit world? I wondered, hasn’t she reincarnated? All of these questions, doubts, and analysis. My ego was trying to confuse me.
I’ve been told many times to trust what I get. When I had these visions, all the information I needed was revealed to me. Therefore, I am trusting what I received to be true.
Two nights ago, around 10:30 p.m., I was walking Sugar and I saw millions of particles (the best way I can describe it) everywhere. I thought this must be something falling from the tree that I was passing under at the time. But everywhere I looked, in all directions, I saw it. Then I thought something might be wrong with my sight. I blinked and then I could not see it. But, I unfocused my vision and I saw it again. It was in the atmosphere.
Love, light, and blessings
I saw Oprah Winfrey in an interview with the cast for the movie The Butler. She said something that was very interesting. She said that some time ago she came to the conclusion that she did not plan on acting any more and was hesitant about taking the role. Oprah said that what made her decide to take the role as the wife in the upcoming movie, was that she felt that the world needed to see a middle class African-American family in a drama on-screen. As she pointed out you do not see this very often. She also pointed out other attributes that she felt that the world needed to see brought out by this character in the film.
As I watched her talk I thought to myself what is it that I want the world to see? What part do I need to play on the big…
View original post 176 more words
I am very drawn to the works of English authors and poets from the 18th Century. I enjoy Jan Austen’s work; Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Sense and Sensibilities. I’m fascinated with the way of life during Jane Austen’s lifetime. For instances, women were not allowed to own property. I imagine many women found themselves in the same situation as that of the Dashwood women in Sense and Sensibilities. This past Sunday was a rainy, lazy day and I watched Sense and Sensibilities again.
Portrait of Jane Austen, from the memoir by J. E. Austen-Leigh.
|Born||(1775-12-16)16 December 1775
Steventon Rectory, Hampshire, England
|Died||18 July 1817(1817-07-18) (aged 41)
Winchester, Hampshire, England
|Resting place||Winchester Cathedral, Hampshire, England|
|Period||1787 to 1809–11|
Jane Austen (16 December 1775 – 18 July 1817) was an English novelist whose works of romantic fiction, set among the landed gentry, earned her a place as one of the most widely read writers in English literature. Her realism, biting irony and social commentary have gained her historical importance among scholars and critics.
Austen lived her entire life as part of a close-knit family located on the lower fringes of the English landed gentry. She was educated primarily by her father and older brothers as well as through her own reading. The steadfast support of her family was critical to her development as a professional writer. Her artistic apprenticeship lasted from her teenage years into her thirties. During this period, she experimented with various literary forms, including the epistolary novel which she then abandoned, and wrote and extensively revised three major novels and began a fourth.[B] From 1811 until 1816, with the release of Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814) and Emma (1816), she achieved success as a published writer. She wrote two additional novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, both published posthumously in 1818, and began a third, which was eventually titled Sanditon, but died before completing it.
Austen’s works critique the novels of sensibility of the second half of the 18th century and are part of the transition to 19th-century realism.[C] Her plots, though fundamentally comic, highlight the dependence of women on marriage to secure social standing and economic security. Her work brought her little personal fame and only a few positive reviews during her lifetime, but the publication in 1869 of her nephew’s A Memoir of Jane Austen introduced her to a wider public, and by the 1940s she had become widely accepted in academia as a great English writer. The second half of the 20th century saw a proliferation of Austen scholarship and the emergence of a Janeite fan culture.
Austen was born on 16 December 1775 at Steventon rectory and publicly christened on 5 April 1776. After a few months at home, her mother placed Austen with Elizabeth Littlewood, a woman living nearby, who nursed and raised Austen for a year or eighteen months. In 1783, according to family tradition, Jane and Cassandra were sent to Oxford to be educated by Mrs. Ann Cawley and they moved with her to Southampton later in the year. Both girls caught typhus and Jane nearly died. Austen was subsequently educated at home, until leaving for boarding school with her sister Cassandra early in 1785. The school curriculum probably included some French, spelling, needlework, dancing and music and, perhaps, drama. By December 1786, Jane and Cassandra had returned home because the Austens could not afford to send both of their daughters to school.
Austen acquired the remainder of her education by reading books, guided by her father and her brothers James and Henry. George Austen apparently gave his daughters unfettered access to his large and varied library, was tolerant of Austen’s sometimes risqué experiments in writing, and provided both sisters with expensive paper and other materials for their writing and drawing. According to Park Honan, a biographer of Austen, life in the Austen home was lived in “an open, amused, easy intellectual atmosphere” where the ideas of those with whom the Austens might disagree politically or socially were considered and discussed. After returning from school in 1786, Austen “never again lived anywhere beyond the bounds of her immediate family environment”.
As Austen grew into adulthood, she continued to live at her parents’ home, carrying out those activities normal for women of her age and social standing: she practised the fortepiano, assisted her sister and mother with supervising servants, and attended female relatives during childbirth and older relatives on their deathbeds. She sent short pieces of writing to her newborn nieces Fanny Catherine and Jane Anna Elizabeth. Austen was particularly proud of her accomplishments as a seamstress. She also attended church regularly, socialized frequently with friends and neighbours, and read novels — often of her own composition — aloud with her family in the evenings. Socializing with the neighbours often meant dancing, either impromptu in someone’s home after supper or at the balls held regularly at the assembly rooms in the town hall. Her brother Henry later said that “Jane was fond of dancing, and excelled in it”.
In 1793, Austen began and then abandoned a short play, later entitled Sir Charles Grandison or the happy Man, a comedy in 6 acts, which she returned to and completed around 1800. This was a short parody of various school textbook abridgments of Austen’s favourite contemporary novel, The History of Sir Charles Grandison (1753), by Samuel Richardson. Honan speculates that at some point not long after writing Love and Freindship [sic] in 1789, Austen decided to “write for profit, to make stories her central effort”, that is, to become a professional writer. Beginning in about 1793, she began to write longer, more sophisticated works.
Early in 1816, Jane Austen began to feel unwell. She ignored her illness at first and continued to work and to participate in the usual round of family activities. By the middle of that year, her decline was unmistakable to Austen and to her family, and Austen’s physical condition began a long, slow, and irregular deterioration culminating in her death the following year. The majority of Austen biographers rely on Dr. Vincent Cope’s tentative 1964 retrospective diagnosis and list her cause of death as Addison’s disease. However, her final illness has also been described as Hodgkin’s lymphoma.[H] Recent work by Katherine White of Britain’s Addison’s Disease Self Help Group suggests that Austen probably died of bovine tuberculosis, a disease (now) commonly associated with drinking unpasteurized milk. One contributing factor or cause of her death, discovered by Linda Robinson Walker and described in the Winter 2010 issue of Persuasions on-line, might be Brill–Zinsser disease, a recurrent form of typhus, which she had as a child. Brill–Zinsser disease is to typhus as shingles is to chicken pox; when a victim of typhus endures stress, malnutrition or another infection, typhus can recur as Brill–Zinsser disease.
Austen continued to work in spite of her illness. She became dissatisfied with the ending of The Elliots and rewrote the final two chapters, finishing them on 6 August 1816.[I] In January 1817, Austen began work on a new novel she called The Brothers, later titled Sanditon upon its first publication in 1925, and completed twelve chapters before stopping work in mid-March 1817, probably because her illness prevented her from continuing. Austen made light of her condition to others, describing it as “Bile” and rheumatism, but as her disease progressed she experienced increasing difficulty walking or finding the energy for other activities. By mid-April, Austen was confined to her bed. In May, Cassandra and Henry escorted Jane to Winchester for medical treatment. Austen died in Winchester on 18 July 1817, at the age of 41. Henry, through his clerical connections, arranged for his sister to be buried in the north aisle of the nave of Winchester Cathedral. The epitaph composed by her brother James praises Austen’s personal qualities, expresses hope for her salvation, mentions the “extraordinary endowments of her mind”, but does not explicitly mention her achievements as a writer.
List of works
- Sense and Sensibility (1811)
- Pride and Prejudice (1813)
- Mansfield Park (1814)
- Emma (1815)
- Northanger Abbey (1818, posthumous)
- Persuasion (1818, posthumous)
- Lady Susan (1794, 1805)
- Sir Charles Grandison (adapted play) (1793, 1800)
- Plan of a Novel (1815)
- Poems (1796-1817)
- Prayers (1796-1817)
- Letters (1796-1817)
Juvenilia — Volume the First (1787-1793) 
- Frederic & Elfrida
- Jack & Alice
- Edgar & Emma
- Henry and Eliza
- The Adventures of Mr. Harley
- Sir William Mountague
- Memoirs of Mr. Clifford
- The Beautifull Cassandra
- Amelia Webster
- The Visit
- The Mystery
- The Three Sisters
- A beautiful description
- The generous Curate
- Ode to Pity
Juvenilia — Volume the Second (1787-1793)
- Love and Freindship
- Lesley Castle
- The History of England
- A Collection of Letters
- The female philosopher
- The first Act of a Comedy
- A Letter from a Young Lady
- A Tour through Wales
- A Tale
Juvenilia — Volume the Third (1787-1793)
- Catharine, or the Bower