Widely acclaimed for her verse, Giovanni uses bold language to address social issues based on her experiences as an African American woman. Since 1968, she has published more than two dozen volumes of poetry, essays, and edited anthologies, as well as eleven illustrated children's books, including the award-winning Rosa, about Rosa Parks. Her autobiography, Gemini, was a finalist for the 1973 National Book Award. In 2004, her album The Nikki Giovanni Poetry Collection was a Grammy finalist for the Best Spoken Word Album. Giovanni has received numerous awards, including the inaugural Rosa L. Parks Woman of Courage Award (2002), the Virginia Governor's Award for the Arts (2000), and Ebony Magazine's Woman of the Year (1970), although the most unusual honor may be a South American bat species named for her: Micronycteris giovanniae. She is also a seven-time recipient of an NAACP Image Award. A devoted teacher, Giovanni has been a visiting professor and poet-in-residence at numerous colleges, and she encourages students of all ages to express themselves creatively through writing.
Reprinted with permission of the Library of Virginia.