TONIGHT: Elon to host talk by award-winning poet Nikki Giovanni

One of the most widely read American poets, Giovanni will be offering a virtual presentation at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 21, available at

Elon University is presenting a talk by award-winning poet Nikki Giovanni on Wednesday, Oct. 21, at 7:30 p.m. The event is open to the public and will be hosted online at

Poet, radical, healer and sage, the prolific and perennially relevant, Giovanni has shared her inspired and courageous voice for decades to touch our national consciousness on issues of race, gender, violence and inequality.

Giovanni was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, and although she grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, she and her sister returned to Knoxville each summer to visit their grandparents. She graduated with honors in history from her grandfather’s alma mater, Fisk University. Since 1987, she has been on the faculty at Virginia Tech, where she is a University Distinguished Professor.

During the past 30 years, the outspoken nature of Giovanni’s writing and speaking has brought the eyes of the world upon her. One of the most widely read American poets, she prides herself on being “a Black American, a daughter, a mother, a professor of English.”

The Academy of American Poets voted Giovanni the No. 1 poet for the spring of 2007. Giovanni has written more than two dozen books, including volumes of poetry, illustrated children’s books, and three collections of essays. Her book Racism 101 includes bold, controversial essays about the situation of Americans on all sides of various race issues.

Three of her volumes of poetry — “Love Poems,” “Blues: For All the Changes,” and “Quilting the Black-Eyed Pea” — were winners of the NAACP Image Award in 1998, 2000 and 2003. Her newly released collection, “Bicycles: Love Poems,” has been called one of her “most powerful offerings to date” by Essence magazine.

Giovanni is the recipient of the Langston Hughes Medal for poetry and the Rosa L. Parks Woman of Courage Award. She has been named woman of the year by Mademoiselle, The Ladies Home Journal, and Ebony. Oprah Winfrey has called her one of the 25 living legends.

Find other upcoming events on the Elon University Fall 2020 Cultural Calendar here.