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Nikki Giovanni

University Distinguished Professor

Nikki Giovanni is the proud recipient of seven NAACP Image Awards for her poetry. She has been awarded The Langston Hughes Medal for Poetry and she is the first recipient of The Rosa L. Parks Woman of Courage Award. The state of Tennessee, her birth state, has placed an Historic Marker at 400 Mulvaney Street, the home of her Grandparents, where she lived during her teen years; the city of Lincoln Heights, Ohio, her childhood home, has also placed an Historic Marker on the street of St. Simon’s, her elementary school. Giovanni was invited to create the poem, At This Moment, celebrating the 200th Anniversary of the Birth of Abraham Lincoln. Standing where Marion Anderson stood was one of her proudest moments, she says.  2008 was an unusually productive year with Giovanni bringing four books to publication. Hip Hop Speaks To Children; Lincoln and Douglas: An American Friendship; and The Grasshopper's Song added to her children's canon. Hip Hop reached Number 3 on the New York Times Best Seller List. Her latest collection of adult poetry, Bicycles: Love Poems, was honored with her sixth NAACP Image Award. 2010 saw the publication of The 100*Best African American Poems (*But I Cheated), along with the accompanying CD with readings by Ruby Dee Novella Nelson and Sonia Sanchez, among others. Giovanni also produced the DVD VT READS celebrating The Steger Poetry Prize at Virginia Tech and co-produced 73 (Poems) for 73 (Years): The Lucille Clifton Memorial Reading. Giovanni is especially pleased that she partnered with Maya Angelou to celebrate Toni Morrison at Sheer Good Fortune, which brought together a host of special artists, including legendary Angela Davis, MacArthur Genius awardee Edwidge Danticat, former United States Poet Laureate Rita Dove, and many others. Giovanni, whose new collection of poems is entitled Chasing Utopia, can frequently be seen sharing stories in Shanks Hall.


403 Shanks Hall

    Image of Giovanni

  • (540) 231-7785
  • Dept. of English MC 0112
    181 Turner St. NW
    Blacksburg, VA 24061