BLACKSBURG, Va., Jan. 3, 2003 – Renowned poet and Virginia Tech University Distinguished Professor Nikki Giovanni has published Quilting the Black-Eyed Pea, a book of "poems and not quite poems."
Publisher William Morrow calls Giovanni's book of 50 new poems "her revelatory gaze at the world in which we live--and her hopeful declaration of the world she dreams we will one day call home." The works in the book are about "nature and the environment, her own battle with illness, relationships between mothers and daughters, legendary historical figures, the South and the recent terrorist attacks." But no matter the subject matter, each work "bears Nikki's trademark of being at once unfalteringly political and intensely personal."
The poems range from an exaltation of "the might and grace of women" to a commemoration of Africa and Giovanni's family legacy. In poems such as "Making James Baldwin" and "Quilting the Black-Eyed Pea," the publisher says, "Giovanni gives us reason to comfort, to share, to love, to change, and to be human."
The book also includes a prose poem honoring "Rosa Parks on Her 80th Birthday." Giovanni recently received the first Rosa Parks Woman of Courage Award "for her words, vision, courage, voice, her artistry, commitment to change, inspiration to others, and her distinguished career as a writer, teacher, and leader."
In the 60s, Giovanni, with her poetry, was recognized as a leader of and inspiration for Black peoples. For 30 years, she has written poetry, essays, and children's books. She has focused on the struggle for equality, women's liberation, the environment, the individual, family, and personal observations of her world.
Throughout the years, she has been honored with keys to cities, honorary doctorates, and numerous awards, including the Langston Hughes Award and two NAACP Image Awards. She has been named Woman of the Year by several magazines (including Mademoiselle, Ebony, and the Ladies Home Journal) and earned the Virginia Governor's Award for the Arts 2000.