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HomeNewsArchivesPoet Nikki Giovanni Offers Wit and Wisdom to Reichhold Center Crowd

Poet Nikki Giovanni Offers Wit and Wisdom to Reichhold Center Crowd

March 21, 2008 — Nikki Giovanni, the Grammy-nominated poet, spoke to an audience of nearly 300 Friday night in a free event at the Reichhold Center for the Arts.
Local author Tregenza A. Roach, who introduced the poet, remembers reading Giovanni's poetry at Adelita Cancryn Junior High School (formerly Wayne Aspinall Junior High).
"Nikki Giovanni's poetry made us examine the quality of our lives," Roach said. He called Giovanni "a poet whose soul was our soul, a poet who shared our history."
Giovanni told the audience about her family and poems she had written, and she related the story of how she came to develop her book Rosa. Giovanni was personally acquainted with the late Rosa Parks, whose refusal to give up her seat to a white person on a city bus in Montgomery, Ala., in 1955 helped launch the U.S. civil rights movement.
Parks' calm demeanor was critical to the outcome of the event, Giovanni said.
"We thank God that Rosa Parks was not a woman of her time," she said. "We can all stand up for that which we think is right."
She read "Nikki Rosa," which she wrote for her parents, and concluded with a reading of "Ego Tripping," a poem originally published in 1973.
Following the lecture, Giovanni signed books for St Thomas fans.
In addition to her career as a poet and writer, Giovanni is a university distinguished professor at Virginia Tech, where she has taught creative writing for more than 20 years.
Giovanni, 64, came on stage wearing a UVI ball cap. She comes to St Thomas frequently, staying at Bologo Bay.
The poet minced no words about topics of the day, from recently resigned New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer embroiled in a prostitution scandal to broad social issues such as absentee fathers and single mothers.
Someone asked what inspired her.
"A major part of my muse was my grandmother, and all of the old ladies that you counted on," she said. Now, Giovanni said, "You look around and you are the old lady that you counted on. I need to be sure that I am reaching out to younger people."
The free event was sponsored by the Alfred O. Heath Distinguished Lecturer Series. The five-year-old series, which provides speakers with honoraria and travel expenses, is funded through the Office of the President of the University of the Virgin Islands.
Friday's lecture was videoconferenced simultaneously to the Evans Center Theater on UVI's St. Croix campus.
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March 21, 2008 -- Nikki Giovanni, the Grammy-nominated poet, spoke to an audience of nearly 300 Friday night in a free event at the Reichhold Center for the Arts.
Local author Tregenza A. Roach, who introduced the poet, remembers reading Giovanni's poetry at Adelita Cancryn Junior High School (formerly Wayne Aspinall Junior High).
"Nikki Giovanni's poetry made us examine the quality of our lives," Roach said. He called Giovanni "a poet whose soul was our soul, a poet who shared our history."
Giovanni told the audience about her family and poems she had written, and she related the story of how she came to develop her book Rosa. Giovanni was personally acquainted with the late Rosa Parks, whose refusal to give up her seat to a white person on a city bus in Montgomery, Ala., in 1955 helped launch the U.S. civil rights movement.
Parks' calm demeanor was critical to the outcome of the event, Giovanni said.
"We thank God that Rosa Parks was not a woman of her time," she said. "We can all stand up for that which we think is right."
She read "Nikki Rosa," which she wrote for her parents, and concluded with a reading of "Ego Tripping," a poem originally published in 1973.
Following the lecture, Giovanni signed books for St Thomas fans.
In addition to her career as a poet and writer, Giovanni is a university distinguished professor at Virginia Tech, where she has taught creative writing for more than 20 years.
Giovanni, 64, came on stage wearing a UVI ball cap. She comes to St Thomas frequently, staying at Bologo Bay.
The poet minced no words about topics of the day, from recently resigned New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer embroiled in a prostitution scandal to broad social issues such as absentee fathers and single mothers.
Someone asked what inspired her.
"A major part of my muse was my grandmother, and all of the old ladies that you counted on," she said. Now, Giovanni said, "You look around and you are the old lady that you counted on. I need to be sure that I am reaching out to younger people."
The free event was sponsored by the Alfred O. Heath Distinguished Lecturer Series. The five-year-old series, which provides speakers with honoraria and travel expenses, is funded through the Office of the President of the University of the Virgin Islands.
Friday's lecture was videoconferenced simultaneously to the Evans Center Theater on UVI's St. Croix campus.
Back Talk Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.