Nikki Giovanni adds comedy to poetry

Jennifer Shore

World-renowned, award-winning writer, civil-rights activist and one of Oprah’s 25 Living Legends, Nikki Giovanni, watches Deal or No Deal. Not only does she watch it, but writes about it in her new collection of poetry, “Bicycles: Love Poems.”

Last night in the Student Center Ballroom, Giovanni shared her poem, “Deal or No Deal (for ENGL 4714 CRN 16937),” along with other works that transitioned from stories about people, her life, her feelings on Tiger Woods, the Weather Channel and an assortment of other topics.

“She’s outspoken in her beliefs,” said sophomore English major Casey Nichols. “She kind of just says it as it is, and that’s something that everybody can benefit from to get more confidence.”

During the question and answer section of the event, Giovanni was asked why she started writing. Her reply: “Because I’m good at it.”

Giovanni said she is not a big fan of inspiration, but she does try to learn something new everyday to write about in future. At one point in her life, she had to find a way to embrace sadness after the death of family members. She said she connected all of her thoughts and put them together through love.

“Anytime anything is that crazy, love is the only thing that’s going to get you through it,” Giovanni said. “If you don’t have anything else to do, then you have to fall in love.”

Giovanni said writing love poems made her smile and a happier person overall. She saw her mood as turning wheels and if there were a handle, it would make a vehicle, which is how she came up with the name “Bicycles” for her book.

“She’s a genius,” said sophomore nutrition major Chris Rousos.

He also said her sincerity is what makes her poems good.

Nichols said she likes the rhythm and beat to Giovanni’s poetry that have a jazz-music feel to it. Giovanni ended her presentation with a reading of “Ego Tripping,” Nichols’s favorite poem.

The following is part of Nikki Giovanni’s poem, Ego Tripping:

“I am so hip – even my errors are correct

I sailed east to reach west – and had to round off the

earth as I went

The hair from my head thinned and gold was laid

across three continents

I am so perfect, so divine, so ethereal, so surreal

I cannot be comprehended

except by my permission

I mean … I … can fly

like a bird in the sky …”

Contact arts and sciences reporter Jennifer Shore at [email protected]