Nikki Giovanni

As I’ve told you in previous blogs, I started writing first as a poet–or rather what I thought was poetry.  (I am much clearer on the fact now that what I write is prose and cannot be classified with the brilliance that defines poetry by academic standard.)  That being said, Nikki Giovanni was one of my first real experiences with African-American poetry.  I came across “I Wrote a Good Omelet” in the library while researching black women poets; ever since, it has resonated with me.  I’ve included it in this post because you simply have to experience it at some point in your life.

Being that this month is both National Reading Month and National Women’s History Month, I feel it necessary to highlight those women who have spoken the plight of women so brilliantly over time.  Though Nikki Giovanni has certainly received her share of accolades, I find that she is spoken of very little anymore.  We don’t study her work in many African-American history courses; little is said of her pieces during poetry venues, and most of her books aren’t even in circulation in public libraries because nobody checks them out.  I view that as a terrible waste.

Since we are celebrating National Reading Month as well as women, I have to tell you about a great children’s book Ms. Giovanni edited called Hip Hop Speaks to Children that is just phenomenal.  It doesn’t matter what color or creed you or your child may be; you will find this book absolutely delightful!  It’s full of vibrant colors and images, and the poetry is absolutely stunning.  The book is even accompanied by a CD with readings from hip hop greats like Queen Latifah and A Tribe Called Quest.  You can check out the video Ms. Giovanni did for the launch here.

I think this is a book that needs to be on every child’s shelf.  From babies/toddlers to young tweens and YA readers, every kid will absolutely love the phenomenal poetry and readings enclosed in this book.  I’m tempted to get a second copy, just for myself!

Explore your local library this month for more gems like Hip Hop Speaks to Children, and while you’re at it, find something for yourself, too, like Nikki Giovanni’s Ego Tripping or Those Who Ride the Night Winds.  As promised though, here’s my favorite: “I Wrote a Good Omelet”.

I Wrote A Good Omelet

I wrote a good omelet…and ate
a hot poem… after loving you
Buttoned my car…and drove my
coat home…in the rain…
after loving you
I go’ed on red…and stopped on
green…floating somewhere in between…
being here and being there…
after loving you
I rolled my bed…turned down
my hair…slightly
confused but…I don’t care…
Laid out my teeth…and gargled my
gown…then I stood
…and laid me down…
To sleep…
after loving you

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