Bicycles - love poems

So it came to pass that a poet called their anthology of poems "Bicycles" and of course this means I had to reserve it at the library... After a patient few weeks it arrived and I am thrilled to say I have "discovered" a new poet whom I very much admire.  It goes against a few of my prejudices to do so, but she is undeniably so full of life and it shows so well that all stereotypes and prejudices fly out the window before it.  This, it seems to me, is almost the test of good poetry.

Her name, if you do not already know it, is "Nikki Giovanni" and below is one of her works for you to judge for yourself


in life
one is always

like we juggle our mothers
against our fathers

or one teacher
against another
(only to balance our grade average)

3 grains of salt
to one ounce truth

our sweet black essence
or the funky honkies down the street

and lately i've begun wondering
if you're trying to tell me something

we used to talk all night
and do things alone together

and i've begun

(as a reaction to a feeling)
to balance
the pleasure of loneliness
against the pain
of loving you

  Nikki Giovanni

So what of my prejudices that are happily overthrown?  One of them is her nationality, American.  The second is her "celebrity status" as she was the poet in residence or on the staff I think at "Virginia Tech" when they suffered one of those mass shooting "events" that seem to have become almost commonplace now.  Alongside that is her pride in her black American heritage and overcoming her ancestral past.

So far (I have not taken in as much of her work as I should like) it  seem love really is "her thing", that and America and she sort of represents that in a way to me with her youthful take on many things.   I was sufficiently impressed by the dozen or so of these poems I have read that already "anything by Nikki Giovanni" is an item on my Christmas list and do not intend to rush through the rest, she is one of those poets one wishes to savour and "save up" the work of rather than tear through it and be left wanting more.