Nikki Giovanni Visits SIUE

Nikki Giovanni lecturing at SIUELast Monday world renown poet, activist, and educator Nikki Giovanni visited SIUE. During her time on campus Giovanni met with students in a small group setting and gave a guest lecture on education, civil rights, and life in general to a packed Meridian Ballroom.

Currently a professor at Virginia Tech, Giovanni is an award winning author with numerous volumes to her name. With over 30 books to her name, she is perhaps best known for her poetry and writings on civil rights. Giovanni is heralded for her presentation of personal truth and her ability to be simultaneously humorous and thought provoking.

During her meeting with SIUE students Giovanni, after some passionate arguments about football, discussed writing strategies through a series of round about metaphors and tales of personal experience. The most frequently repeated themes being: if you want to be a writer then you need to write no matter what anyone else says, and that if you write something and it’s bad set it aside and try again rather than wasting time revising something that doesn’t work.

Giovanni’s public lecture took on a mixture of inspirational speech and poetry reading with Giovanni sharing her thoughts on everything from cancer survival, to civil rights, and even traveling to Mars. Each of her topics ended with a work of her poetry.

“If I get the the chance to go to Mars I’m going,” Giovanni shared with a laughing auditorium, “My bills are paid, my kids are grown, and my dog’s got its’ shots.”

Giovanni’s visit was part of the SIUE Department of English Language and Literature’s “The Year of The Book” initiative, with the help of SIUE’s Department of Arts and Issues and the SIUE Foundation. David Sedaris will be visiting SIUE on April 16th 2013 as part of the same initiative.

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