She publicly expressed feelings of oppression, anger, and frustration; in doing so, she found new audiences beyond the usual poetry-reading public.
sold six thousand copies in three months, almost six times the sales level expected of a poetry book.
A literary and cultural renaissance was emerging at Fisk, as writers and other artists of color collaborated in cultural projects that explored and delineated the possibilities of Black identity. in history in 1968 and went on to attend graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University in New York Giovanni’s first published volumes of poetry grew out of her response to the assassinations of such figures as Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, Medgar Evers, and Robert Kennedy, and the pressing need she saw to raise awareness of the plight and the rights of Black people.
In addition to serving as editor of the campus literary magazine and participating in the Fisk Writers Workshop, Giovanni worked to restore the Fisk chapter of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). sold over ten thousand copies in its first year alone.
Of the poem, Giovanni said in an interview with the “I try to be honest in my work, and I thought the only thing I can do at that point—because all I knew was that we are Virginia Tech. what I do to justify the air I breathe,” Giovanni once wrote in “I have been considered a writer who writes from rage and it confuses me.
Nikki Giovanni is considered a top African-American poet of the twentieth century.
“Nikki writes about the familiar: what she knows, sees, experiences,” Don L.
Lee observed in ”It is clear why she conveys such urgency in expressing the need for Black awareness, unity, solidarity…
What is perhaps more important is that when the Black poet chooses to serve as political seer, he must display a keen sophistication.
Sometimes Nikki oversimplifies and therefore sounds rather naive politically.” However, Giovanni’s first three volumes of poetry were enormously successful, answering a need for inspiration, anger, and solidarity.