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Nikki Giovanni’s “Love Poems”

Nikki Giovanni is a very interesting Poet. Through the course of her writing career, she has become known as one of the most celebrated and controversial writers. She has been leaving her mark in the poetry world because of the truth, power, and passion she conveys within her poems. In her book, Love Poems, her poems have such soul and life to them. Giovanni divides this book into three sections, all dealing with different types of love poems.

Readers can hear the voice of the Poet bouncing off the page. Her poem “The Beautiful Black Men” shows this:

I wanta say just gotta say something

bout those beautiful black men

black men

with they afros

walking down the street

is the same ol danger

but a brand new pleasure

(Stanza 1)

This voice makes the poems feel as if they are a conversation being held between Giovanni and the reader. It also gives the poems such a rhythm. It connects the reader with the richness of the life Giovanni has.

Love Poems plays with a reader’s ideas of what love is. Giovanni experiments with the idea of what a love poem is and challenges her readers to look at love in a different way.

In her love poem “All Eyez on U,” Giovanni writes about the rapper 2Pac, racism, and the fight to make a difference. She writes:

…they took away band so the boys started scratching they took away

gym so the boys started break dancing the boys started rapping

cause they gave them the guns and the drugs but not the schools and

libraries

what a beautiful boy to lose

and we mourn 2Pac Shakur and we reach out to his mother and we

hug ourselves in sadness and shame…

There is a humor within her poetry. She creates some really great metaphors, and her poems bring a smile. For instance, her poem “Communication” she uses music, science, and math as forms of communicating love, and this really brought a smile to my face.

Communication

if music is the most universal language

just think of me as one whole note

if science has the most perfect language

picture me as MC2

since mathematics can speak to the infinite

image me as 1 to the first power

what i mean is one day

i’m gonna grab your love

and you’ll be

satisfied

Giovanni’s poems are fun and full of life. Her titles are unique and witty. When I first started reading her book of love poems, I thought I would be reading “love poems,” but I was pleasantly surprised to find these poems. The way that Giovanni chooses to write about love and the way that she views love is terrific! I wish I could share every poem that captured my attention, but I can’t because they are too many. The rhythm within these poems made me want to read them out loud. I got lost in her fun, witty, and bold words. She is such a fascinating and wonderful writer, and each poem makes you want to read more. I hope that you all go and read her poems.

-Jessica

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  1. Looking for some poetry recommendations? – UMW Blogs on Monday, March 30, 2009 at 10:03 am

    […] Neon Vernacular to Edwin Arnold’s Fear of Death and Other Poems to Nikki Giovanni’s Love Poems. And we can’t forget The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry, and that’s just a few […]

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