American Poet Nikki Giovanni will speak at the Lewisburg Literary Festival Saturday, Aug. 4, at 3 p.m. at Carnegie Hall. Giovanni, considered one of the nation’s preeminent poets, began publishing in the 1960s.
Her first collection Black Feeling Black Talk (1968) was born out of the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, Medgar Evers, and Robert Kennedy along with the rhythms of gospel and jazz.
Giovanni is the recipient of seven NAACP Image Awards, the Langston Hughes Award for Distinguished Contributions to Arts and Letters, the Rosa Parks Women of Courage Award. She has received more than twenty honorary degrees from various colleges and universities, and she was named one of Oprah Winfrey’s 25 Living Legends. Beyond her 18 collections of poetry, Giovanni has penned an autobiography, numerous books of fiction and non-fiction, children’s literature, and essays. For this work, she has been nominated for a National Book Award, and made her way to the New York Times and Los Angeles Times Best Sellers lists on three occasions.
Giovanni is a University Distinguished Professor at Virginia Tech. She attended Fisk University, University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University. On her website, her biography concludes, “I was asked to do a biography so this is it. I am 71 years old. I highly recommend old age; it’s fun” which perhaps best points to the spirit of the beloved poet often called “legendary” and “iconic.”
She said in Contemporary Authors, “Writing is… what I do to justify the air I breathe. I have been considered a writer who writes from rage and it confuses me. What else do writers write from? A poem has to say something. It has to make some sort of sense; be lyrical; to the point; and still able to be read by whatever reader is kind enough to pick up the book.”
The Lewisburg Literary Festival, Aug. 3 – 4, is a vibrant two-day event featuring visiting authors, literary workshops, outdoor art installations, musical entertainment, and performance art. The annual event takes place the first Friday and Saturday in August and is free to all guests. Due to seating capacity, guests must call 888-716-5082 to reserve tickets to specific speaker events.
Other visiting presenters include author David Sheff and podcast producer Anna Sale. To learn more, visit LewisburgLiteraryFestival.com.