Nikki Giovanni Essay

2197 words - 9 pages

BLACK POWER! This exclamation was prominent during the Black Arts Movement, a period in the mid- 1900’s when black art, literature, and music was on a major rise. From the Black Arts Movement arose many influential writers. One of the most critically acclaimed, impactful, and powerful writers that began a reign during the Black Arts Movement was Nikki Giovanni. Giovanni received much criticism during this time for her controversial literature, but presenting continues to create literary works that are appreciated and widely acknowledged throughout the literary canon. Nikki Giovanni interprets the major events of her life and dramatically changing society around her into controversial ...view middle of the document...

A. in history (). In 1968 Nikki Giovanni graduated with honors and a B.A. in history, but Fisk was not the end of her quest for education, she continued on to the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University in New York for graduate school.
““Writing is ... what I do to justify the air I breathe,” Giovanni wrote, explaining her choice of a vocation in Contemporary Authors.” (). Nikki Giovanni has a complex writing style and has admitted majority of her works and inspired by rage. Giovanni’s viewpoint is that of a black revolutionary incorporating various social concerns. As a poet, “her rhymes are more pronounced, more lyrical, and gentler” (). In her early career Giovanni’s most common poetic themes were “family, loneliness, and frustration” (), but since then they have shifted to a softer point of view. Nikki Giovanni's work is widely impacted by the events of her life; therefore, her topics and main ideas shifted and grew as she did.. More significantly, Giovanni was influenced by the Black Arts Movement a time when “she saw to raise awareness of the plight and the rights of black people” ().
The Black Art Movement was very similar to the Harlem Renaissance, but it “was the only American literary movement to advance "social engagement" as a sine qua non of its aesthetic.” () Black Power was the seemingly “unthinkable and unattainable” idea that drove the movement during the 1960’s. The Black Arts Movement was simultaneously occurring during the Civil Rights Movement, but it specifically placed focus on the importance of African- American artists, poets, musicians, and authors. Nikki Giovanni like other writers during the Black Arts Movement radically impacted modern literature by “establishing their own voice distinct from, and sometimes at odds with, the prevailing white literary establishment.” During the Black Arts Movement there were various events that changed Nikki Giovanni’s life from assassinations, political activism, and spiritual awareness Nikki Giovanni interpreted all of her experiences into poetry and literature.
Nikki Giovanni’s first book of poetry was published in 1968 and entitled Black Feeling Black Talk. Black Feeling Black Talk was developed from Giovanni’s “response to the assassination of such figures as Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, Medgar Evers, and Robert Kennedy” () and compilation of both personal experiences and political outlooks. The book displays “a strong, militant African-American perspective as Giovanni explores her growing political and spiritual awareness” (). In its premiere year Black Feeling Black Talk sold over ten thousand copies which placed a spotlight on Giovanni as an upcoming female African-American author who was beginning to take the literary world by storm.
Black Feeling Black Talk was only the beginning of the poetry Giovanni created that was impacted by her life and time period. Poems such as A Poem on the Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, They Clapped, and Ego-Tripping are...

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