[The following was provided by the Division of Strategic Marketing and Communications.]
Nikki Giovanni said “writing is … what I do to justify the air I breathe.” A celebrated world renowned poet, commentator, activist, writer and educator, she wrote her first book of poetry in 1968 and continues to be lauded for her works and the passion with which she writes and speaks.
The Division of Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Missouri-Kansas City will bring Giovanni to its campus later this month for “Nikki Giovanni: ‘An Evening of Poetry, Love and Enlightenment’ ” on Monday, Jan. 26, as part of the university’s annual tribute to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
The free event begins at 6 p.m. in the UMKC Pierson Auditorium, Atterbury Student Success Center, 5000 Holmes St. Even though RSVPs are required, seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.
Overflow rooms are available at the Miller Nichols Learning Center, room 151 and in the Student Success Center, rooms 236 and 237.
Giovanni, a product of the famous 1960s Black Arts Movement, is one of the most distinguished and widely-read African-American poets, authors and essayists, and she continues her fight for civil rights and equality.
Her first book, “Black Feeling Black Talk,” was followed by a second book within a year and launched her career as a writer. All but one of her 20 books remains in print, including her 2003 releases, “The Collected Poems of Nikki Giovanni: 1968-1998” and “The Prosaic Soul of Nikki Giovanni.”
Her children’s picture book, “Rosa,” about civil rights legend Rosa Parks, became a Caldecott Honors Book and also reached number three on The New York Times bestseller list. Shortly after its release, “Bicycles: Love Poems,” reached number one on Amazon.com for Poetry.
She won her seventh NAACP Image Award for her book, “100 Best African-American Poems” in 2011 and has received awards and honors for many of her books. “Blues: For All the Changes,” reached the Los Angeles Times bestseller list, a rare honor for a book of poems.
Giovanni is known as an intense and straightforward diversity speaker and presents a captivating speech encapsulating the past three decades of civil rights efforts.
She is currently a professor at Virginia Tech, where she was named the university distinguished professor. Giovanni also is a lung cancer survivor and a contributor to the book, “Breaking the Silence: Inspirational Stories of Black Cancer Survivors.”
A Q&A and book signing will take place from 7 – 8 p.m. Registration is required; free parking is available on the fifth and sixth levels in the Cherry Street Parking Garage, 5000 Cherry St. For registration and additional information, view the Diversity and Inclusion website.