Fans of poet and West Virginia University honorary degree recipient Nikki Giovanni will soon have the opportunity to hear her read her poetry and to buy several of her books at reduced price.
Giovanni will recite”The Genie in the Jar,”a poem she wrote for the late jazz singer Nina Simone, after accepting an honorary doctorate in humane letters at WVU s Commencement. The ceremony begins at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, May 18, in the Coliseum.
The WVU Bookstore, meanwhile, has ordered extra copies of the authors books to display in the downtown store at 20 percent off starting this week. The sale will last through Commencement.
“Nikki Giovanni is a very important person in the world of contemporary literature, and this is one way the Bookstore can recognize her,”said Sandy Weston, trade book manager and buyer.”With her receiving an honorary degree, we have ordered extra copies of several selections, including her current hardback book,Quilting the Black-Eyed Pea: Poems and not-Quite Poems.”
Other Giovanni poetry collections to be offered at the 20 percent discount include”The Nikki Giovanni Collection,”available on both audio cassette and compact disc;”Blues for All the Changes: New Poems,”“Love Poems”and”Black Feeling, Black Talk.”
Works on sale besides her poetry will include”Gemini: An Autobiographical Statement of My First 25 Years of Being a Black Poet;”“Racism 101,”a survival guide for black students on predominantly white campuses; a childrens book of poems; and”Grandmothers: Poems, Reminiscences and Short Stories About the Keepers of Our Traditions,”an anthology edited by Giovanni and featuring a contribution by WVU English professor Ethel Morgan Smith.
Giovanni, who was born in Knoxville, Tenn., and grew up in Ohio, entered the literary world at the height of the black arts movement. She has received numerous awards for her work, including the NAACP Image Award for Literature in 1998, 2000 and 2003, and the Langston Hughes Award for Distinguished Contributions to Arts and Letters in 1996.
She is a Distinguished Professor of English at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. She earned a bachelors degree from Fisk University, attended graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania and is the recipient of 20 honorary degrees.
Giovanni is one of four individuals receiving honorary degrees during WVU s Commencement. Other recipients are U.S. Rep. Alan Mollohan, D-W.Va. and keynote speaker; Sylvia M. Mathews, an executive officer with the Bill&Melinda Gates Foundation; and Rouzbeh Yassini-Fard, founder and chief executive officer of YAS Broadband Ventures.