Goodmorning everyone. Here is part 3 of my interview with Nikki Giovanni. If you've missed any of the previous interviews, please go to the Author Interviews tab and you will find the previous two interviews. Also, don't forget to check out the Spotlight Poetry contest entries. They are doing such a spectacular job. I have really been enjoying the poetry they have submitted. If you still want to enter, there is still time. Just go the Spotlight Poetry Submission tab and follow the guidelines to enter. And please spread the word, we want as many poets as possible to have the opportunity to share their work and have a chance at winning the prize.
Nikki Giovanni Interview
I’m going to give you four words; can you give me a poem that best represents each attribute? For instance, if I say surrogate, I might think of the poem, The Aunt by Mari Evans.
All of my poems are about hope.
You have written several books of poetry for children? How do you get children interested in poetry and how can we inspire our youth to be more empowered?
Well, you know children are not stupid. And I think you have to approach them as intelligent beings. And I m really thrilled that they have enjoyed the books that I’ve written. But I approach children like anything else, like they are intelligent. And you approach them as intelligent. I think I am a pretty good story teller, but one of the reasons I am is that the stories are true. I’m sharing something with them, something that they not only need to know but enjoy getting to know. And that’s black or white. That doesn’t matter. My book Rosa, has been well received all over the community, kids like it, white kids like it, black kids like it, and I wanted to share Mrs. Parks as I knew her. I think kids will read if we give them the books.
What are your thoughts about the segregation of books by African American writer’s in book stores?
Well, you know, that’s been a controversy. Because you say segregation, and other people call it categories, but I don’t read for example… umm…what is that stuff… I don’t read murder mysteries, so I’m glad there is a section on murder mystery, cause I don’t have to go to it. And I don’t read it anymore, I use to read a lot of science fiction when I was much younger, I don’t read it anymore. So I’m glad there is a section on science fiction. I read poetry and I’m glad there is a section on poetry. And I read a lot of black American authors, so I’m glad when I walk into a bookstore, I don’t have to go through everybody that ever wrote, to find what I’m looking for, I don’t think of it as segregation, I think of it as categories.
That’s a good way of looking at it.
In a previous interview you mentioned that Fredrick Douglass had input into Abraham Lincoln’s administration. Are you currently working on a project to educate readers about that relationship and the influence Fredrick Douglass may have had on the Emancipation Proclamation being signed?
I have written the book, it’s called An American Friendship: Abraham Lincoln and Fredrick Douglass and the book is out. I have not done any additional work to that. No.
Stay tuned to the final conclusion of my interview with Ms. Nikki Giovanni next Monday. You know she will have something interesting and insightful to say.
What did you think of the interview today? Do you agree with Ms. Giovanni about the segregation of African American books in bookstores? Are they simply categorized or are books segregated in bookstores?
What poems comes to mind when you think of love, desire, pain and hope?