Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Nikki Giovanni

The most recent episode of Bill Moyers Journal featured an interview with one of my favorite poets, Nikki Giovanni. Listening to her talk about life and read her poems was pure joy, and had me smiling as I drove down the road. Her poems always tend to put me in a good mood.

Here is "Everything Good Is Simple":
Everything good is simple: a soft boiled egg...toast fresh from the oven with a pat of butter swimming in the center...steam off a cup of black coffee... John Coltrane bringing me 'Violets for My Furs'

Most simple things are good: Lines on a yellow legal pad... dimples defining a smile...a square of gray cashmere that can be a scarf... Miles Davis 'Kind of Blue'

Some things clear are complicated: believing in a religion...trying to be a good person...getting rid of folk who depress you...Horace Silver 'Blowing the Blues Away'

Complicated things can be clear: Dvorak's 'New World' Symphony... Alvin Ailey's 'Revelations'... Mae Jemison's riding in space... Mingus 'Live at Carnegie Hall'

All things good are good: poetry... patience... a ripe tomato on the vine... a bat in flight... the new in your arms... things like that

And here is the poem that introduced me (and probably many others) to her poetry, "Ego Tripping", set to music by Blackalicious:

She pulled me out of a bad mood. Maybe she'll do the same for you.

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