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The Selected Poems, 1968-1995

4.36  ·  Rating details ·  762 ratings  ·  35 reviews

When Nikki Giovanni's poems first emerged from the Black Rights Movement in the late 1960s, she immediately took a place among the most celebrated and controversial poets of the era. Finally, here is the first compilation of Nikki Giovanni's poetry. It is the testimony of a life's work from one of the commanding voices to grace America's political and poetic landscape at

Hardcover, 304 pages
Published January 11th 1996 by William Morrow
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Apr 19, 2008 rated it liked it
This is the first poetry volume I've read by Nikki Giovanni, and I've been really impressed with her writing. This book has a nice mix of different types of poems -- great love poems, nostalgic and powerful memories from the first days of the civil rights movement, notes about growing older (she's 65 this year) as a tough feminist and giving the right tools to the next generations, and quite a bit more.

Giovanni's plainness of language can be very beautiful, and I appreciate that some poems
Ty Jones
Oct 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was my first read of any of Ms. Giovanni's literary works. I must say, it hit home. From years past to today, her poems speak volumes to the heart and mind on SO many levels. My favorites: Revolutionary Dreams, The World is Not a Pleasant Place to Be, and A Certain Peace name a few. The one I cherish most, is: The Wonder Woman! Short but reminiscent, encouraging..never stop dreaming.
May 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I must have read her first poems at least 40 years ago. Loved them then and do love them now.
Aloysiusi Lionel
Jul 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
This hardbound beauty reminded me of Christina Aguilera's hit "Fall In Line", as both capture heightened expressions of woman empowerment, telling the whole world that women, from society's imposed image of domesticity and vulnerability, are "more than flesh and bone" and "not made to fall in line". In the abundance of sing-songs and lullabies which I do not personally prefer on a poetry collection, there is the implicit pulchritude, from a poet's sensitivity to enjambments, poetic tensions and ...more
May 26, 2017 rated it liked it
I liked this book because it felt like this book was made for me. It had its on little section for life, family and friends. I'm having a lot of family issues and reading this book made me release you only have one family and that they do sometimes do things you don't think they would do but they do. The poems made me understand that people make mistakes and your family is your family and you can't replace them. It gave me thought.Thought that you have to forgive someone even if they hurt you ...more
Mike Hammer
May 21, 2019 rated it liked it
nice collection
good flow and strong themes and words, good storytelling
it probably only needed to be half as long tho
Feb 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
I saw Nikki Giovanni on Bill Moyers' Journal recently and I was captivated. She was charming, witty and introspective. She conveyed a joy that was almost contagious. She read some of her poetry (most of which I didn't know). I immediately requested this book from the library.

This volume presents a chronological sample of her poems. It is interesting to see the development of both her subject and craft. Particularly poignant to me were some of the poems relating to her experience as both a
Dec 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
The first book I bought with my own money. I labored over it in the bookstore for close to half an hour until finally giving in and never once did I regret my decision. Her work is a living testament to how simplicity does not have to mean rudimentary, that the tradition of poetry inherited from Europe does not have to dominate what new thing America has created. I love this book!
Angélique (Angel)
Mar 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, black-lit
I didn't completely understand everything she was trying to say, but what I did get was usually profound in an uncomplicated way. I really like that about her poetry they can be so deep but so simple in their own unique way.
Lisa Ahn
Jan 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Love, love love. Nikki Giovanni's poems are a marvel of language and feeling. She captures big and small moments, turns them inside out, and reveals the world in entirely new ways. Intense, captivating and unforgettable.
Mal Martin
Jan 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Honestly these were amazing pens and I recommend them to anyone. She writes about feelings, history, art, and small moments. this book is a journey, not only through the past but through the present. it goes into your soul and leaves essence for anyone willing to breathe it in.
Feb 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
words simply amazing, words that touch deep inside of you in places so private sometimes you forget they are there and then for a secound you feel whole and a wholeness only words can create sweeps over your body and nothing matters
Feb 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I love this woman! I love her poetry! Great collection of her poetry. Personal favorites include: "Ego Tripping", "Sky Diving", and the Angela Davis poem.

Good stuff!
Jacqui Hopkins
Aug 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
My favorite? "Habits."
Sam Grace
Dec 04, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Along with Sappho the only poetry I carry with me wherever I go.
Andaye Hill
Dec 11, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone!!!
A great collection of Giovanni's most poignant poems....
Tj Armour
Aug 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The GOAT! My poetry bible.
Jun 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful collection of poems by Nikki.
Aug 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This book started it all for me.
Miami University Libraries
King Library (2nd floor) | PS3557.I55 A6 1996

"Poem for Aretha" was read at the 2010 Women's Read-In
Oct 26, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: women
this has some of my most favorite poems in it. Helped me build a backbone, a heart, and a voice. This is my desert island book.
Jul 24, 2007 rated it it was amazing
You can find a smart poem for any emotion...ego trippin is in this fav poem
Sep 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
AMAZING!!! It was after reading this book that I 1st met Dr. Giovanni! Thank you Mom for giving me her name as an eternal gift!
Mar 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
No matter what I was feeling I could turn to a page in this book and find a poem to express it. Giovanni is truly a poet for the world.
Jun 19, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
i used to enjoy this book a lot more. She's a great poet for the lay person - beautiful images, wonderful rhythm - but the politics does get in the way.
Jul 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Great works from a great poet. She's one of my favorites because she's real and doesn't hold back.
Cotton Candy on a rainy day is excellent.
Aug 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poems
Saw her live and it was amazing. It was a redo of the concert/reading she did in the 60's/70's? One of my favorite poets.
Wanda Lea Brayton
Apr 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Found Nikki's writing in college. Still read her works. Amazing.
May 12, 2019 added it
This book was written by Nikki Giovanni, a well known American poet, writer, commentator, activist, and educator. With a strong opinion on how the blacks are treated, influenced by the Black Arts Movement and the Civil rights movement. Her work shows a strong African American perspective, written in chronological order. A strong commitment to African and African-American oral tradition, her voice is very strong, resilient, as she speaks and writes as African American, woman, mother, writer or ...more
Mar 13, 2007 rated it really liked it
My mom gave me this book when I graduated from college.
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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 ...more