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The Women and the Men

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  205 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
From Harlem rooftops to the drumbeats of the Congo, the poems in The Women and the Men display in full measure the gifts that have made Nikki Giovanni one of the most important, appealing, and broad-reaching American poets: her warmth, her conciseness, her passion, and her wit. First appearing between 1970 and 1975, the poems in this gemlike volume reflect the drastic chan ...more
Published January 1st 1979 by Harper Perennial (first published January 1st 1975)
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Apr 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I never know what to say about collections of poetry. I enjoyed a great number of the pieces in this one. It's easy to skim social media and come across so much cliche/bad or boring poetry (myself included at times I'm sure) that one might forget what good poetry looks/sounds like. I am thankful for this refreshing reminder and plan to read more of Giovanni's work.
Susan Rose
Jun 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry-and-verse
This is a beautiful book of free form poetry, I found the poems best read out loud as they are like spoken word, or lyrics. The strong plain but beautifully constructed poems remind me of Langston Hughes.

Some themes in this collection are, music, nature of fame and gender roles. Another strength of this collection is its great economy of language. A quick example is :

The Autumn Poems

the heat
you left with me
last night
still smolders
the wind catches
your scent
and refreshes
my senses

i am a l
May 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Giovanni writes with confidence and assurance. Her poems are like exclamation marks. No doubt, no argument, no discussion. She encapsulates her world, her experience, her truths, and serves them up without apology or contextualization. Her words are bold and inspirational.

The Women Gather
the women gather
because it is not unusual
to seek comfort in our hours of stress
a man must be buried

it is not unusual
that the old bury the young
though it is an abomination

it is not strange
that the unwise and t
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Apr 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, southern, read2014
I went on a Nikki Giovanni poetry reading binge because she will be at the SC Book Festival in May 2014.

Anyone who has read Nikki Giovanni's more recent love poem anthologies - Love Poems and Bicycles - will find that many of the poems chosen for those volumes come from this one.

I think I may prefer them this way, presented in groupings of poems on women and poems on men, which adds more balance to the "love" part of life. Taken by itself, it can be a bit... sappy, shall we say. But always hear
Maughn Gregory
Feb 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
there are no reservations
for the revolution

no polite little clerk
to send notice
to your room
saying you are WANTED
on the battlefield ...

there will be no recruitment
where you can give
the most convenient hours
"monday wednesday i play ball
friday night i play cards
any other time i'm free"

This second book of Giovanni's poetry is full of important observations on fighting hate with love (a marked shift from her first book), while continuing the passionate struggle for justice.

Jan 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I connected with this sooo much more than I expected to...and it's not at all because I had low expectations, but because I just happened across this title while shelving at work. I'd simply never read any of Nikki Giovanni's work up until now. I'm SO glad that I grabbed it and placed it on my cart because the experience I just had reading this solitary book, I'm sure, was and will be for years to come, very significant in my life.
Jul 06, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: lady-poets
Poetry about being black in America, romance, aging, and family. Three sections: The Women, The Men, And Some Places. The middle section didn't really do anything for me.

My favorites:
"Poem for Aretha"

I am so hip even my errors are correct
- "Ego Tripping"

it is not unusual to sift
through ashes
and find an unburnt picture

- "The Women Gather"
Hope L. Justice
Sep 03, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: adult-poetry
I didn't find the style or language to be exceptional as a majority. I think they were some that really shined, purely easy beauty. "alone" is really lovely:
i can be
alone by myself
i was
lonely alone
now i'm lonely
with you
something is wrong
there are flies
i go

I think as a whole, the form is tiresome and within poems there are a lot of clashing images--thematically schizophrenic in some places. I really enjoyed this read however.

Oct 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
It took me a bit to get into her style, but I enjoyed the poems and there are bits of them that really struck me as true and beautiful--even if the truth was not so beautiful, the way it was written was. I connected with this more than I expected to, and one that stood out to me was "Housecleaning."
Feb 09, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: poetry
Some of the poems in "The Women" section are lovely and have a swinging ease about them, even as they take on heavy topics. But the poems in "The Men" section made me cringe whenever Giovanni waxed romantic mush. The final section ("And Some Places") is better but the "old lady" wisdom rings false -- which makes sense: Giovanni was only 30-something at the time of publication.
Jul 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Revolutionary Dreams and Kidnap Poem are two great poems from this collection. Nikki Giovanni is still writing poetry and teaches at Virginia Tech.
Karen Ashmore
Feb 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
There is no better poem than "Ego Tripping", especially when read out loud full of drama and emotion.
Herman brown
Jan 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
gentle... yet concise.
Jan 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
these poems put you on location. i dig her words.
Rianna Jade
May 21, 2015 rated it liked it
3.5 stars.
ben adam
Mar 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
This book embodies why Nikki Giovanni is so awesome.
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Yolande Cornelia "Nikki" Giovanni is a Grammy-nominated American poet, activist and author. She has written numerous volumes of poetry and has been honored with loads of awards, including 20 honorary degrees from national colleges and universities. Her poems are undeniably authentic distillations of black life in America. She was editor of Fisk University's literary magazine. She lives in Blacksbu ...more
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