Poet presents personal rhyme

“Tears, cheers and applause flooded the Student Union Theatre on Thursday evening as distinguished poet Nikki Giovanni gave a lesson in life, history and how to stay afloat through it all. Perhaps unaware of her ability to touch the heart of everyone in a room that held over 200 people, she said, I’m just a poet.”

Tears, cheers and applause flooded the Student Union Theatre on Thursday evening as distinguished poet Nikki Giovanni gave a lesson in life, history and how to stay afloat through it all. Perhaps unaware of her ability to touch the heart of everyone in a room that held over 200 people, she said, I’m just a poet.

Giovanni, now a professor at Virginia Tech, swept the University of Akron crowd away with her readings and commentary on life.

She did touch the audience, Emily Frank, a student, said. She made everything she talked about very human.

Giovanni advised students to study her age and era, to learn what they could from the people who came before them in order to make a better future for the younger ones – the people that she said needed to be looked out for. She spoke of death and honesty, friendship and family, reaching into the hearts of the audience, pulling them out of daydreams and into reality.

Through stories of Rosa Parks and other cultural icons, Giovanni showed how humble she could be.

She is one of those people who is so human and so humble, just worldly and accomplished yet so normal that I think every single person there could connect with something, Frank said. She reminded the audience that even those who made the greatest changes in our history were regular living, breathing people who still had to take the bus to work and feed their families.

Giovanni focused on the Civil Rights Movement, giving the audience new perspectives to consider concerning global issues. Her extensive talk on Parks, a dear friend of Giovanni’s, was accompanied by the illustrated children’s book that she helped create. It shows that no matter how far away we are from a problem, it’s all about us. You get involved because it’s the right thing to do.

If one major lesson can be learned from Giovanni’s presentation, it’s that nothing will change without someone standing up or sitting down and doing something about it.

I thought she was so forward thinking and to see a woman be so forward thinking, she is out of her time. She’s ahead of her time, Frank said.

Giovanni inspired others to not merely be people of their time, but to be people of the future.

No one should be a man of his time, and we thank God that Rosa Parks was not a woman of her time, but a woman of the future, Giovanni said.

Giovanni also spoke about abortion, the presidency and the value of money compared the value of an actual gesture. She told an endearing story about the New York Yankees trip to Virginia Tech to play against the university baseball team, following an initial check of $1 million in response to the tragedy that took place there.

We were all extremely grateful, said Giovanni. The Yankees reached out and it wasn’t just the money, they wanted to come down and play us.

Most who attended Giovanni’s presentation seemed to leave impressed.

I don’t know if she plans her lectures or not, but she was so enlightening to listen to, Frank said. Nikki Giovanni is an incredibly humourous and personable individual who made a mark on all of her listeners.

Minutes into her speech Giovanni had the audience laughing with statements like, you know what’s the advantage of being a black woman? Nobody knows what your hair is supposed to look like.

Giovanni left the audience with advice that should be kept for years to come.

It’s important to go forward, to continue doing what you do, because once you stop there is no reason to restart, she said.


” #1.1361071:3955082539.jpg:20080415_speaker_rp.jpg:Poet Nikki Giovanni poses after speech on Thursday.:Ramona Paul”