12 Best Nikki Giovanni Poems To Read Of All Time


Among the most renowned living antiques, the first book of poetry of Nikki Giovanni, Black Feeling, Black Talk, came out in 1968. Her job is tender and warm and shows Giovanni’s high standards for her speech, for its people in her own life, and for exactly what she expects out of her nation, marred by systemic racism.

You are reading: 12 Best Nikki Giovanni Poems To Read Of All Time

An individual can locate a street map for a better world within her poems. Here are the best Nikki Giovanni poems, which feel like a fantastic place to begin one of her lengthy, significant body of work. Penn Book expects if you examine them, you genuinely feel as though I did at 15 discovering her for the first time.

Best Of Nikki Giovanni

Table of Contents

  • 1 Best Nikki Giovanni Poems
    • 1.2 DREAMS
    • 1.3 YOU CAME, TOO
    • 1.5 A GOOD CRY
    • 1.7 NIKKI-ROSA
    • 1.8 VOTE
    • 1.9 Sky Diving
    • 1.10 Love Is
    • 1.11 Choices
    • 1.12 You Came, Too

Best Nikki Giovanni Poems


so he said: you ain’t got no talent

if you didn’t have a face

you wouldn’t be nobody

and she said: god created heaven and earth

and all that’s Black within them

so he said: you ain’t really no hot shit

they tell me plenty sisters

take care better business than you

and she said: on the third day he made chitterlings

and all good things to eat

and said: “that’s good”

so he said: if the white folks hadn’t been under

yo skirt and been giving you the big play

you’d a had to come on uptown like everybody else

and she replied: then he took a big Black greasy rib

from adam and said we will call this woeman and her

name will be sapphire and she will divide into four parts

that simone may sing a song

and he said: you pretty full of yourself ain’t chu

so she replied: show me someone not full of herself

and i’ll show you a hungry person


in my younger years

before i learned

black people aren’t

suppose to dream

i wanted to be

a raelet

and say “dr o wn d in my youn tears”

or “tal kin bout tal kin bout”

or marjorie hendricks and grind

all up against the mic

and scream

“baaaaaby nightandday

baaaaaby nightandday”

then as i grew and matured

i became more sensible

and decided i would

settle down

and just become

a sweet inspiration


I came to the crowd seeking friends

I came to the crowd seeking love

I came to the crowd for understanding

I found you

I came to the crowd to weep

I came to the crowd to laugh

You dried my tears

You shared my happiness

I went from the crowd seeking you

I went from the crowd seeking me

I went from the crowd forever

You came, too


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 goed 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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We are not lovers

because of the love

we make

but the love

we have

We are not friends

because of the laughs

we spend

but the tears

we save

I don’t want to be near you

for the thoughts we share

but the words we never have

to speak

I will never miss you

because of what we do

but what we are


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Nikki Giovanni


I always like summer

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you can eat fresh corn

from daddy’s garden

and okra

and greens

and cabbage

and lots of


and buttermilk

and homemade ice-cream

at the church picnic

and listen to

gospel music


at the church


and go to the mountains with

your grandmother

and go barefooted

and be warm

all the time

not only when you go to bed

and sleep


childhood remembrances are always a drag

if you’re Black

you always remember things like living in Woodlawn

with no inside toilet

and if you become famous or something

they never talk about how happy you were to have

your mother

all to yourself and

how good the water felt when you got your bath

from one of those

big tubs that folk in chicago barbecue in

and somehow when you talk about home

it never gets across how much you

understood their feelings

as the whole family attended meetings about Hollydale

and even though you remember

your biographers never understand

your father’s pain as he sells his stock

and another dream goes

And though you’re poor it isn’t poverty that

concerns you

and though they fought a lot

it isn’t your father’s drinking that makes any difference

but only that everybody is together and you

and your sister have happy birthdays and very good


and I really hope no white person ever has cause

to write about me

because they never understand

Black love is Black wealth and they’ll

probably talk about my hard childhood

and never understand that

all the while I was quite happy

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It’s not a hug

Nor mistletoe at Christmas

It’s not a colored egg

At Easter

Nor a bunny hopping

Across the meadow

It’s a Vote

Saying you are

A citizen

Though it sometimes

Is chocolate

Or sometimes vanilla

It can be a female

Or a male

It is right

Or left

I can agree

Or disagree but

And this is an important but

I am a citizen

I should be able

To vote from prison

I should be able

To vote from the battlefield

I should be able

To vote when I get a driver’s license

I should be able

To vote when I can purchase a gun

I must be able

To vote

If I’m in the hospital

If I’m in the old folks’ home

If I’m needing a ride

To the Polling Place

I am a citizen

I must be able to vote

Folks were lynched

Folks were shot

Folks’ communities were gerrymandered

Folks who believed

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In the Constitution were lied to

Burned out

Bought and sold

Because they agreed

All Men Were Created Equal

Folks vote to make us free

It’s not cookies

Nor cake

But it is the icing

That is so sweet

Good for the Folks

Good for Us

Nikki Giovanni Quotes

Sky Diving

I hang on the edge

of this universe

singing off-key

talking too loud

embracing myself

to cushion the fall

I shall tumble

into deep space

never in this form

or with this feeling

to return to earth

It is not tragic

I will spiral

through that Black hole

losing skin limbs

internal organs


my naked soul


in the next galaxy

with only my essence

embracing myself


I dream of you

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Love Is

Some people forget that love is

tucking you in and kissing you

‘Good night’

no matter how young or old you are

Some people don’t remember that

love is

listening and laughing and asking


no matter what your age

Few recognize that love is

commitment, responsibility

no fun at all


Love is

You and me


If i can’t do

what i want to do

then my job is to not

do what i don’t want

to do

It’s not the same thing

but it’s the best i can


If i can’t have

what i want… then

my job is to want

what i’ve got

and be satisfied

that at least there

is something more to want

Since i can’t go

where i need

to go… then i must… go

where the signs point

though always understanding

parallel movement

isn’t lateral

When i can’t express

what i really feel

i practice feeling

what i can express

and none of it is equal

I know

but that’s why mankind

alone among the animals

learns to cry

You Came, Too

I came to the crowd seeking friends

I came to the crowd seeking love

I came to the crowd for understanding

I found you

I came to the crowd to weep

I came to the crowd to laugh

You dried my tears

You shared my happiness

I went from the crowd seeking you

I went from the crowd seeking me

I went from the crowd forever

You came, too

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Category: Author

Debora Berti

Università degli Studi di Firenze, IT

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