Author & Text

Poet Nikki Giovanni was born in 1943.

June 07
Calendar Activity Type
Author & Text

Event Description

The first recipient of the Rosa L. Parks Woman of Courage Award and a Langston Hughes Medal winner for her poetry, Nikki Giovanni prides herself on being "a Black American, a daughter, a mother, and a professor of English." She was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, in 1943, and is the author of over 30 books for both adults and children, as well as a University Distinguished Professor at Virginia Tech.

Classroom Activity

Using Nikki Giovanni's poem "My First Memory (of Librarians)" as a model, encourage students to connect memory, their senses, and the language of poetry.

Write on the board or display on an overhead projector the prompt "My First Memory (of ... )" and ask students to think of a person, place, thing, or experience for which they can recall specific early memories. Ask them to brainstorm any sensory images: sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and tactile images.

Then share "My First Memory (of Librarians)," encouraging students to take inspiration from Giovanni's structure and use of language as she reveals her feelings and attitudes toward her subject.


Featuring a wealth of resources, Nikki Giovanni's official site offers biographical information, links to essays and conversations, and multimedia content.


Nikki Giovanni's page on the Academy of American poets features biographical information and the text of some of her poems.


The Poetry Foundation page for Nikki Giovanni provides information on her life, career, and bibliography, as well as the text of several of her well-known poems.

This talk was given by Nikki Giovanni at a TEDx event.

Related Resources