Write Around the Corner

S2 E13 | FULL EPISODE

Write Around the Corner - Nikki Giovanni

We travel to the campus of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, to visit with a living legend and one of America’s most celebrated writers. This scholar, educator, poet, American icon, wonderful cook and space enthusiast talks with us about her life and work.

AIRED: February 19, 2019 | 0:27:56
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TRANSCRIPT

[♪♪♪]

♪ Every day every day every day Every day every day ♪

♪ Every day I write the book ♪

[♪♪♪]

- Welcome. I'm Rose Martin,

and we are Write Around the Corner

in Blacksburg, Virginia,

on the beautiful Virginia Tech campus

with a living legend, an American icon,

a scholar, a poet,

one of Oprah's 25 Living Legends.

She's a celebrated writer.

She's a space enthusiast,

and she has a wicked sense of humor.

Of course, we're here with Nikki Giovanni.

Nikki, thank you so much

for being on Write Around the Corner.

- I'm delighted to be here.

- And we have to know who this wonderful little friend is.

- Oh, she doesn't have good sense.

This is my dog.

This is Cleo, and so, it's snowing today.

It's supposed to snow today,

and she would be unhappy to be left at home,

which is why she's here.

- Well, we love having her

and we love having her here in the shot.

- Thank you, because the dog doesn't have good sense.

So I'm hoping that uh... [chuckles]

She's a Yorkie, if somebody wonders.

Everybody who has a Yorkie out there

knows they don't have good sense.

They run the world. - Right.

Well, she has a whole new fan club right now.

So when we think about, you know, young Nikki Giovanni,

I'm so inspired by the fortitude and grace that you had to,

you know, grow up in a situation that wasn't easy

and then live with your grandma

and then just decide, you know what, I have got,

it was in me to make something amazing happen.

That's just so inspiring.

- [chuckles] Well, thank you.

I don't think of it that way.

My father's crazy, and that was difficult,

and I was lucky to have a grandmother.

I think grandmothers are just the best things on Earth,

and I went down, down because she's in Tennessee

and lived with Grandmother and Grandpop

and went on to college, and actually, I'm not friendly

and I don't have any talent, so if you put the two together,

I'm a writer. [laughs]

- Hmmm, I don't know, you seem pretty friendly,

but I think I would say

you are very talented, Miss Nikki Giovanni.

So, when we think about,

you had early entrance to Fisk though, which meant

that you didn't have to finish high school, right?

- I didn't finish high school which is how I got my first job.

Because, you know, you fill out the information

and they say, when did you graduate from high school,

and I had to look at the guy who was doing that,

"I didn't graduate from high school."

Oh, and so he said, you know, I gotta hire her;

she's a high school dropout. - [Rose laughs]

- That's how I got my first job. [laughs]

That's the truth. - Wow!

So, but when you were at Fisk, you actually decided

that you wanted to go home for Thanksgiving, right?

And they weren't so happy about that.

- Yeah, the dean. I saw her a couple years ago.

Just one of those stupid rules. I was...

Well, I don't like rules, and so...

and I don't like people having an opinion.

So the two things.

Again, I didn't see why the dean is going to tell me

I can't go home to see my grandparents.

I mean, what business of it is hers?

I could see why she could say,

okay, we don't want you to go out in a bar or something

because I didn't drink, and I wouldn't have done that.

But I went home to see my grandparents at Thanksgiving,

and actually Grandpop had died two months later.

So it was clearly the right decision,

and I think it was helpful in a way.

She kicked me out of school, and these things happen

and I'm not gonna deal... I mean,

as far as I was concerned with the dean, I didn't care.

What I cared was what I did,

and I went home to see my grandparents.

Grandpop had died, and that was important to me.

And so, I also realized though, you have to win.

- What do you mean by that?

- And that'd be a whole other longer discussion,

but whatever you're doing in life,

you're going to have to win, and I realized, okay,

I have to go to college because, you laughed at me,

but it's true.

My sister had dimples and great skin,

and she could sing and she could dance,

and a lot of people around me had all kinds of talent.

They were, you know, athletically talented.

Yvonne, a friend of my sister's, was tall.

They called her "Ave" which is French for a bird.

- Uh-hm. - And she could play basketball.

Everybody could do something, and I couldn't sing,

I couldn't dance, I couldn't do anything.

So, in my opinion, I didn't have any talent,

so if you don't have any talent, you have to have an education.

It was so simple. [chuckles]

- Well, I remember reading somewhere that you had said,

"Oh, my sister Gar will do that"

or "My sister Gar, she can do that, too."

- Everything. Well, they used to...

I'm the baby sister, and they'd say,

"Nikki, can you read?"

And I'd go, "No, but Gary can."

"Nikki, can you dance?" "No, but Gary can."

You know, and I spent most of my life...

she's passed... Gary's been dead now 13 years.

Mommy died in July, and Gary died that August.

So they died within less than a month.

I think they're sitting up in heaven, you know,

drinking beer and watching me.

- And talking about the beer story,

you really went to extraordinary lengths in order to--

not being a beer drinker. This is a great story.

- Well, my cousin Allison.

Mommy and Anto, we called her Anto,

Mommy was born on January 5; Anto was born on January 6,

and so, they both died

within a couple of months, actually, of each other.

So Allison and I thought,

okay, we have to do something to celebrate our mothers.

So we do, she was in Hawaii just this year,

and so we call each other on the 5th and the 6th

and we keep saying, we're going to have a beer,

but neither Allison nor I like beer.

And so, the first time we did, it was oh, we're going to go...

we'll have a beer for our mothers,

and then we realized, eh.

So we kind of lied and said, yeah, I had a beer,

but we actually had champagne.

So we finally admitted that it was champagne.

And I said to Allison, you know,

if we're going to have a beer, we ought to have a great beer,

and that's just what we should do.

We should have a great beer.

She said, you're right, we should have a great beer.

And so, we went, my dog Wendy was alive then,

and so Wendy and I went to B&N to see,

there's a beer book there, but what I wanted to know was,

what's the number one beer.

The number one beer is Utopia. ROSE: Hmmm.

- Which is how we ended up with the title and the book.

- And I never knew that.

I never knew the number one beer was Utopia.

NIKKI: Utopia. Chasing Utopia.

That's how we... Chasing Utopia.

But Utopia is only out every other year.

This is 2019 that you and I are talking,

so Utopia is out this year.

It was not out last year, and it's a Sam Adams.

So you know, it's one of those,

like I called Keith who is our wine place here...

- [chuckles] I know Keith. Yeah.

- Oh, okay. So I called Keith and I said,

you know, would you just put a Utopia away for me.

I knew it was gonna be expensive,

but I said it's fine.

He said, we don't sell Utopia,

and you know how you talk to people slowly

because you think somebody... I said, no Keith,

I know it's expensive because actually

Utopia is $250 a quart. - Wow!

- And I said, no, Keith, it's okay,

and he said, we don't sell Utopia.

And I said, Keith, I just want you...

Nikki, we don't... I said okay.

- [laughs]

- Why don't you? He said they won't let us sell it.

And so, then it became...

There's a place in California called Bounty Hunter,

and Bounty Hunter sells everything.

So I called Bounty Hunter and we've been friends.

"Hi, it's Giovanni in Virginia, you know.

I'd like a Utopia."

They said, we are a wine... I mean, that was like...

You could hear that "We are a wine store.

We do not sell beer" and I was like oh, sorry.

[chuckles] Really, really sorry. - [Rose laughs]

- And it's February, so now I'm on tour.

And so, every place I go, I'm asking about, you know,

why can't I find Utopia.

I think they finally got tired

of me asking about it. - And you're not giving up.

NIKKI: Oh, no, I wasn't going to give up.

I was at the... I spoke to the CIA

which was really a wonderful thing,

but the CIA knows everything, and I know they know everything.

So I said to Panetta, who was the head then,

I said, I'm just looking for a Utopia,

and he said, "Look deep within yourself."

- [laughs] Oh!

NIKKI: And I know, okay.

ROSE: You don't get it. - Yeah, you don't get it.

So I was in, going up to Boston, and I was complaining

that I don't know why I couldn't find Utopia.

So I finally get a call because it's a Sam Adams beer,

and they said, tell Dr. Giovanni we are sending her a beer

because they'd been hearing about it.

ROSE: For months.

- And the glasses to drink it out of

because you drink it out of those...

It's really not a beer. It's thicker.

You know, you don't chew it, but it's thicker.

So he sent it down to me, and so now I had Utopia,

and I said to Pat, why don't you come down.

We laughed. We call Allison Pat.

I said to Pat, why don't you come over;

she said, why don't you bring it out to California.

I said, because if I come out, she lives in California,

I said, if I come out to California,

TSA will take it, to tell you the truth.

- And what I've gone through, this beer is not leaving!

- Yeah, and we'd never have... I said I can't do that.

And I have a dear friend, Kwame Alexander,

and I said to Kwame,

you know, I've got to find somebody to drink this with.

He said, why don't you come on with me;

we're going to Ghana.

Well, I can't take it any place, but I went to Ghana,

and Queen Juanita is there, and we were talking.

She said, oh, you know, I'd love to taste it;

you know, why don't you bring it.

I said, ma'am,

they won't let me bring it out of the United States.

Why don't you... I'll meet you;

why don't you come to the States,

and she said, oh, I can't come to the States,

and this was where her best friend.

Her best friend lives in Barbados

and her best friend got sick.

So Queen Juanita wanted to go and see about her.

Now, she's in Barbados; she's only four hours away,

so she called Kwame because they're friends.

And she said, you know, I'm only four hours away;

I wonder if I came up, you know,

if we could go over and see Nikki

and drink this beer because I'm excited about it,

everybody is excited about it.

So he called me and I said,

my God, I've never had a queen in my house.

And you talk about having to dust and polish and shine.

- [laughs] Let's get everything going.

All for a beer. - Oh my!

I am a good cook, so I had a rack of lamb.

You know, we had a beautiful meal,

and then, after the meal, we opened the Utopia,

and so, we drank it.

Now, Queen Juanita and my friend Jenny

had good sense. They had a glass of beer

and went on about their business.

Kwame and I were sitting there gossiping and talking

and we finished it off. ROSE: Hmmm. [chuckles]

- The last thing that I remember was laughing with him.

The next morning, my head is on the table.

His head is on the table.

Queen Juanita is in my living room in a chair--

I have a whole bunch of quilts, with a quilt.

She's asleep and Jenny's in the... it was like...

- [laughs]

- Embarrassing. - Wow!

And you had a chance to toast your sister and your mom.

- I did. I really did.

It was wonderful. - Wow, what a great story.

And you mentioned about being a cook.

I also read that yeah,

that rack of lamb is one of your specialties,

but yet, you also had an opportunity

that you wanted to grill it, but there was a story,

with Maya Angelou with a rack of lamb, huh?

- Well, she... Maya... I've always...

She's gone now, but see, Maya thinks or thought,

whatever that verb is,

Maya thought that she was a great cook,

and so she and I would fight about who could do what,

and one day she called

because she got tired of hearing me.

I fried the best chicken.

I said that to her, she said, no, you don't.

I said, well, I know what I do that you can't do is,

I make rack of lamb.

She said, I could do that.

I said, no, I make the best rack of lamb,

I know that.

And so, she said, when you come down,

she's only two hours away because she was in Wake Forest,

and I order my, this is not important--

I get my lamb from Lobel's.

And so, I ordered my Lobel's

and I get in my car and I drive down to Wake Forest,

and I said to, I forget her name now, her cook,

I said, I'm cooking today and I did my...

Maya had one of those kitchens

that you have the grill, everything is there.

You know, you have this fabulous kitchen.

Mine is just kind of ordinary.

But I used her grill on the inside, and I made it.

She had some people over and we sat down.

And so Maya just looked, "It's beautiful."

Of course, it was just beautiful.

- And it was perfectly done, it was. [chuckles]

- It was. And she cut it and she said,

"It could use a little salt."

I said, "Girl, you oughta be ashamed of yourself.

You know this is perfect." [laughs] And it was.

- It's perfect. - It's perfect.

- And you'll know, and I'll share my recipe maybe,

just maybe with you.

- I got the laugh on them and it was perfect.

- And that was quite an event,

when you had Toni and Maya here at Virginia Tech.

What a gift to have all three of you

in the same space sharing your work.

- You know, Maya died shortly after.

That started off, Slade died, Toni's son,

and I was talking to Maya and I said, what should we do,

and we said, let's have a celebration.

You know, not a memorial. Let's have a celebration.

And of course, everybody would do anything for Maya,

and now a lot of people do a lot for me.

So what we did was we called all of the writers.

We just got in touch with all of the writers and said,

why don't you come,

and we're going to have it at Wake Forest,

and read your favorite Toni Morrison,

and Toni will be there.

You know, and it'll kind of cheer her up.

But then Maya, I didn't realize it was getting...

she was transitioning, and we didn't really know it.

She came up... She called me and said, can you come down,

and I knew something was wrong.

So I drove down and she said, will Virginia Tech do this;

she said, I just don't have the energy.

And I said, Tech would be delighted.

Dr. Steger, whom I love so much...

I said to Dr. Steger,

we just have one small problem, is how to get Toni,

because Toni also has problems getting around.

And he said, oh, we'll just send my plane.

- And there you go.

- Which is what he did. But we had a...

It was sold out, but the tickets...

You know, it was not for sale.

And I don't have programs that are for sale,

and I found out a long, long time ago,

if you're doing something,

the best thing to do is take money off the table

because once you take money off the table,

then you can have a great program.

Nobody's looking for, well, she got $50

and you only gave me $48. - Right.

- If there's no money on the table,

you don't have a problem.

- And that's really...

You know, it's an unusual way to approach it,

but it makes it pure in a way by pulling the money off.

And by the way, I was in the seats that day.

I was there. It was amazing. - It was.

ROSE: It was such a gift, such a gift.

And I love the fact that, you know,

when you talk about your process

and you talk about advice to others, you know,

you think...

I read somewhere that you're like,

"I don't give people advice; I want you to follow your heart.

I want you... I'm going to be straightforward with you.

I'm going to say, you know, find your--

find your lane, you know.

Get in there and do what you were meant to do

and don't be, don't worry about people criticizing you."

And that's kind of hard though, right?

- I don't think so.

I mean, all anybody can tell you is no.

ROSE: Yeah. - And of course,

bringing that program here to Virginia Tech

was incredible, but I had a great president.

I've had... Actually Dr. McComas was a great president.

Dr. Sands was a good president.

We're not as close as with Dr. Steger.

And bringing that kind of... if you were there, you know.

- Yes.

- To be able to put that on stage,

and there are a couple of things I hope to get done

before I retire.

- I didn't want it to end.

I mean, we were sitting there,

and I'm like, no, keep going, keep going, keep going.

- Well, you know what Toni said which was wonderful...

When we brought her out, she said,

"If nothing ever happens in my public life again,

this does it for me."

And I-I couldn't have been more pleased

because I love Toni so much. ROSE: Uh-hm.

- And nothing's going to take the place of your child.

He had cancer and he died.

But I wanted her to know that we loved her.

And Maya wanted her to know, and they've never...

Nobody's ever had all three of us on stage

and now that Maya has transitioned,

it's not-it's not one of the possibilities,

but it was wonderful.

It really... and Dr. Steger was right there.

Like, you know, just keep... Let us know what you need.

Let us know what you need.

- And there was love in that room.

- Oh, yeah. - You know, before we get to--

before we get to this book, A Good Cry ,

um, another icon,

and I love the story of you spotting Rosa Parks

on the other side of the airport.

And working it out in your head

that you are going to find a way to meet her.

- [laughs] Oh yeah, that was so funny.

That was when the old Pittsburgh airport,

before they actually got a real airport.

So it was like a trailer, and it was-it was raining,

so I knew that we weren't going,

that was in the day of propellers,

and I knew we weren't going any place.

And you don't know this, but I'm a nervous individual,

so I always like to know where my back is.

I'm a civil rights person, [chuckles],

so you need to know where your back is.

And so, when I walked in the trailer, I thought,

okay, let me find someplace to put my back

and I could go to sleep.

I could go to sleep talking to you. [chuckles]

- Please don't. [chuckles]

- I know, but I mean, it's a gift.

It really is a gift.

And I sat down and then I looked over.

I said, geez, you know,

that woman looks like Rosa Parks.

[chuckles]

And then I looked up because I had put my glasses.

That's Rosa Parks,

and of course, Miss Parks travels with someone,

or traveled with, my verbs get mixed up.

I wonder if in heaven, she has someone she travels with.

But Miss Parks travels with someone

and then, in all fairness,

there was just a white guy sitting there.

He didn't know. He was doing what...

He didn't have any idea who he was sitting with,

and I was trying to think, okay, I want to meet her now,

how will I go about this.

I knew I couldn't...

I knew I wasn't going to be able to move as a black woman.

So the question is, how do you move the white guy,

and I could have gone over and said, you know,

one of those "Excuse me, sir,

you're sitting next to a cultural icon,

and I'd like to have your seat if you don't mind" or...

- Very politely.

- Or I could say, you know, it was what we call boguarding.

Or I could go over and just, you know...

And he looked up, I said, "Are you gonna move or what?"

and he's, "Oh, I'm sorry." [chuckles]

- And you just slid on in there. I think that's hysterical.

You know, so much of your life and your work,

and I know you say you don't like to give advice--

but if you were to tell,

write a poem for the younger Nikki,

what kind of wisdom would you share with her?

- Well, I'd say you did a good job, you know.

And I think the main thing that I like about myself

is that I haven't blamed myself for something

I either did or didn't do,

and I think that's important because it keeps me from...

I'm not unhappy with myself, and sure, I've made mistakes.

There's a reason that pencils have erasers,

and the main thing about a mistake is that,

you know, you've done it.

I was out at Salt Lake City, [chuckles]

and I'm meeting in the morning with a school, with young kids,

not-not the college but high school kids.

And you know, you're meeting high school kids

in Salt Lake City,

so I said, and I walked out on stage,

they got me introduced and they're being nice,

but they were like...

And I said, I know because [indistinct],

I know you have no idea why you're here,

which sort of got their attention.

I said, you know, I'm just a poet

and I know that you're wondering why you have to be bothered,

and they looked and I said,

"May I share because I'm brilliant?"

And so, that got their attention.

I said, you may wonder why I'm brilliant.

You know, you haven't heard anything;

I said, let me tell you why.

I said, I've written some poems that were excellent.

I've written some poems that were okay,

and I've written some poems that were not good,

and what makes me brilliant is, I know the difference.

- Hmmm. And they're on their seats there!

- And the kids... We had a good time.

You have to know the difference.

ROSE: Right. - So that's what we were...

You have to know when you've made a mistake,

you have to know,

and I was talking earlier about winning.

Winning isn't just beating somebody down.

I was wrong to get kicked out of school.

It was that simple. ROSE: Hmmm.

- And I'm going to lose.

So the thing to do is to go back to Fisk,

admit that I was wrong, how can we work this out,

and when we work it out, then I go back and I graduate.

And that's what...

- And that's such an important lesson,

recognize the mistake,

make amends for it and then move on.

- And go on. - And don't let it...

don't let it sit there with you.

- Otherwise you're going to be stuck

with this mistake that you made for the rest of your life.

And you're angry and you're upset or whatever.

ROSE: Uh-hm. - And it's no point.

I knew I had made a mistake.

I knew I needed to go, I knew I needed to graduate.

And so, you do that, da-dump, da-dump, da-dump.

But I had more fun with the kids in Utah. [laughs]

- Aw, that's a great story. - It's true.

ROSE: You know, your book A Good Cry

almost had a different title.

- It-it almost cried 'Surveillance'. You know--

ROSE: Right, as almost 'Surveillance',

and that was interesting to me because what was it

that changed for you that you realized, you know,

instead of 'Surveillance',

we're going to go withA Good Cry

because women or you just don't cry.

It was hard to come to terms with

those emotions of dealing with all the grief

and thinking, we've got to get it out.

- I... to tell you the truth, I watch, and that's why

we were dealing with 'Surveillance' at that point.

I watch. It's something I've done all my life.

I don't, right now as I sit here,

know why I changed it toA Good C .

It maybe was something in the book.

I'm sorry to say, I just don't know.

But I know that most people don't cry, women or men,

and everybody thinks you do.

Everybody, if you're reading or seeing some bad movie,

everybody's breaking down and they're crying,

and it's not true.

And I had, you know,

my Mom and my sister died within a month of each other,

and then my Aunt Anto died and then Wendy,

my dog that I had mentioned, Wendy died that December.

- Wow. - And so, it was, you know,

and you didn't have time to cry

because what you had to do was you had to sell the house.

You had to deal with the car.

You had to... It was just... You had work to do.

And I think that's-that's more true of most people,

that your mother or your father dies,

you have things that have to be done.

You don't have time to mourn.

You don't have time to be sad, and I know that men, of course,

are always being told, you know, "Be a man; don't cry."

Well, men should cry.

Like men get breast cancer and nobody tells them that, too,

and that's the truth. - Uh-hm.

- And men will die of breast cancer

without admitting that it's breast cancer

because they don't want to say, oh, I have a breast,

but they do. ROSE: They do. Right.

- And it's the kind of thing, so we ended up with

what everybody probably needs is a good cry.

- Well, I loved it.

- Thank you. - And it was

such a tender portrayal in a way,

and I went back and re-read pieces of it

because I didn't feel like I got it the first time

as I'm reading the stories,

and I love how the stories are intermixed with the poems

that kind of give us a glimpse into Nikki.

Would you be willing to read for us?

- Oh sure. I'd be delighted.

The-the one that's my favorite...

[to dog] Sit down. Sit down.

...and I don't mean to the exclusion of others,

but one of my favorites, "I Married My Mother".

[indistinct]

And that's the truth. I used to tease Mommy.

But my father got sick.

My father, we just didn't get along,

and-and I thought he was,

well, I didn't think that, he was abusive,

and Gus had a stroke, and Mommy--I just called him Gus.

And Mommy called me.

I was living in New York, and she said, you know,

she called him my father. Well, he was my father.

"Your father's had a stroke. You know, he's in the hospital."

Well, I knew she wasn't calling because I cared.

So the only reason she could be calling

was that she needed somebody, so I had a son, Thomas,

and Wendy, I had my dog, and so next morning,

we had a Volkswagen and we got into the car

and you know, just went on and we drove on.

And we were there to take care of Mommy.

He did die, of course, ultimately,

and that's a longer story.

But Gus died, and Mommy and I were sitting there.

Mommy was a beer drinker, and I'm not.

I was a coffee drinker.

I didn't even start to even drink wine

until I came here to Tech.

And we were sitting there one day at the table,

and I said, "Mom, you know,

you should have married me, you know.

It-it would have been different."

She said, "Well, if I had married you,

how would I have gotten you?"

And I said, I think that we need to ask somebody

how-how we can get human egg to get out,

like chicken egg gets out.

Like penguin egg gets out.

How is it we can get a human egg out

so that we can make decisions?

- And you lived together for quite a few years.

- Thirty years. ROSE: Wow!

- Yeah, we did, until she passed on.

I brought her here.

- When you got recruited to come here to Tech.

- Yeah, and the first thing that I asked was,

would-would you like to go to Virginia, and she...

We're-we're AME, African Methodist Episcopal,

and she said "whether thou goest",

and so we moved from Cincinnati; we moved here.

But "I Married My Mother": "I know crying is a skill.

"I automatically wipe my eyes

"even though I know crying is a skill.

"Maybe I will learn.

"My mother did when she thought I was asleep.

"I think my sister did, sleep,

"but sleep is as difficult to me as crying.

"I laugh easily and I smile, and withhold any true feelings

"except once I fell in love with my eighth-grade teacher

"and spent most of my life trying to feel safe again,

"though maybe I'm safe now after almost 30 years,

"which is as long as I lived with my mother.

"Maybe that's not a poem. Maybe that's something else.

"Maybe I just wanted to show my father

"that he needn't be cruel.

"Maybe I just enjoy buying the house he had to live in,

"showing her she should have married me instead of him.

"Or maybe, since we will all soon be gone,

"I should be happy I found my mother

"and someone else who loves me.

What else really matters?"

I-I like that though.

- I do, too.

- I like the paperback, by the way,

and I-I shouldn't even mention this.

We had... Rachel and I had a discussion.

Rachel is my editor. ROSE: Uh-hm.

- And the hardcover has what is a traditional

Giovanni was born in '43

and this is what she did, yakety-yak.

But on the paperback, and I said to Rachel,

I'm a little tired of,

who doesn't know when you're born?

I mean, these are things you're glued to.

So, I wrote the fantasy. [chuckles]

- Oooh! - This is-this is my fantasy.

- Okay. And what is your fantasy?

- "A long time ago, a little girl sat in the window

"of her bedroom she shared with her older sister

"and read by a finger flashlight.

"She looked at the stars when the battery gave way,

"and when she got older,

"she snuggled under her grandmother's quilts

"to listen to jazz on the radio all night

"or at least until she fell asleep.

"She first fell in love with words.

"Then they somehow seemed to fall in love with her.

"She got to learn history, meet people, travel everywhere,

"and since this is a fairy tale, she lives happily ever after.

"There may be other things along the way,

"but the words and the stars and the music

are all that matters."

- Oh, how beautiful!

And that little girl has transformed into

an amazing woman and an American legend, icon,

all of those words that I used to describe you.

Nikki, thank you so much

for spending some time with us. - Thank you.

- I'm so very grateful. - It's my pleasure.

ROSE: Special thanks to Nikki Giovanni

right here in her office on the campus of Virginia Tech

for having us into her office,

and sharing her life and her work with us.

I want to thank you for tuning in.

Please tell your friends about us,

and I'll look forward to seeing you next time,

Write Around the Corner.

[♪♪♪]

♪ Every day every day Every day every day every day ♪

♪ Every day I write the book

♪ Every day every day Every day ♪

♪ Every day I write the book

♪ Every day every day Every day ♪

♪ Every day I write the book

ANNOUNCER: Production funding for Write Around The Corner

provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting,

Anne Ray Foundation,

and by viewers like you.

Thank you.

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