"Nikki Giovanni began to write poetry in the 1960s when she was associated with the radical Black Arts Movement. She has since won a large popular following of a kind rarely achieved by poets in American society. Many ordinary people read, memorize, and recite her work, and her public readings are invariably well attended. Indeed, Giovanni's popular success has perhaps caused academic critics to underestimate the depth and breadth of her work. A strong-minded and independent woman, Giovanni has always resisted pigeon-holing, whether by literary critics or political ideologues." "In this study, Virginia C. Fowler provides a ground-breaking survey and interpretation of Giovanni's work, thus filling a significant gap in contemporary literary studies. Fowler's close readings of Giovanni's work elucidate the orality of her poetry and the often subtle ways in which the poet has been influenced by spirituals, the blues, and jazz. In addition, the social, political, and biographical contexts that helped to shape Giovanni's poetry are sensitively delineated, as are the gender issues and personal concerns that became especially important in her verse of the 1970s. Giovanni's formal experimentation also receives its first extended treatment here. In the end, Giovanni is shown to be a poet of universal appeal, whose work reaches past barriers of race, class, and gender to touch the common humanity of her many readers while remaining deeply rooted in the rich tradition of African-American literature." "This study will be valuable to all students of contemporary literature and especially to those interested in the contribution of women of color to our cultural life. An especially notable feature of this volume is a candid interview with Giovanni, in which the poet discusses her life, work, and contemporaries."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved
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