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Re/VIEW: Nikki Giovanni

Nikki Giovanni

Nikki Giovanni by Deborah Feingold

“Giovanni brings a voice of discernment and solidity to our disquiet times. She sees the pandemic as carving out a spiritual space within us.”

Quarantined at her home in Christiansburg, Virginia, Nikki Giovanni listens to Dizzy Gillespie and chats on the phone over her morning coffee and grits “like grandmother used to make.” The poet is always “trying to get a little work done.” This October she published her 28th book, Make Me Rain. It’s the latest offering in a career that took off in the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s and has included co-writing a book with James Baldwin and earning a Grammy nomination for best-spoken word album. Giovanni brings a voice of discernment and solidity to our disquiet times. She sees the pandemic as carving out a spiritual space within us: “We are Zooming each other. We are talking to each other more. People are writing who haven’t written before. I think a lot of this is moving toward the spiritual, a being-in-touch with each other. This virus that is making us stay in has brought out another part of our hearts.” While her heart has grown, it also hurts, thinking about “the governor of Michigan being stalked by extremist militia and black men getting shot in the back by police.” She remembers teaching he …

About the Author

Nathan Erwin

Nathan Erwin is an educator, mindfulness practitioner, food sovereignty advocate, and rural poet. With a family tree rooted in the North and South, Alabama moonshiners and Vermont dairy farmers, Erwin grew up in the hills of Newark Valley, New York.

He has taught public and private schools across the US and worked internationally as a staff developer, facilitating literacy and environmental peacebuilding workshops.

Nathan Erwin currently serves as an independent environmental education consultant and poetry editor for Barrelhouse Magazine. His poetry has appeared in a number of print and online publications, including COUNTERCLOCK, Wordgatherings, and The Lullwater Review. His first book Hemp and Farm Justice (Mandel-Vilar Press) is forthcoming Spring 2021.

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Poetry

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