Thursday, October 7, 2010

Book Review: "Nikki Giovanni's "Bicycles: Love Poems"

Not too long ago, I had the pleasure of seeing literary legends Nikki Giovanni and Sonia Sanchez at my Alma mater Norfolk State University with my big brother.
Both women were dynamite and came across as two cool, little 'ol grannies.
They spoke about politics, education, family, love and sex.
Trust me, no topic was off limits!
Afterward, I bought Nikki's latest book of poems, "Bicycles: Love Poems," for about $11.
Nikki said that the book title is a metaphor for love because it is similar to riding a bicycle, which takes patience, perseverance and trust.
The poems are written in both a traditional and non-traditional format.
Some rhyme. Some don't.
She writes about everything from love, living, history and pop culture.
There were lots of poems that I fell in love with in Nikki's New York Times Bestseller.
"For Huey" was written for Essence magazine and is a tribute to Huey Newton.
"Deal or No Deal" is a funny look at how she sees the popular game show.
"I Provide" reads like a woman wondering why she's not enough for her lover: "I am the wish/On the flame of your candles/When they sing/Happy Birthday/I am yours/Everything you need/I provide/Now tell me/Why/You're not happy."
Dam. I've been there before and it's not a good feeling.
One of my faves is "Shoe Jazz Blue Jazz," in which Nikki writes "...His shoes/Those shoes/Miles Davis/All Blues."
I also admire the power and strength in "We Are Virginia Tech," which was written in response to the 2007 campus shooting that killed 32 people.
Nikki is a professor there and wrote this poem to uplift the campus community after the senseless tragedy.
Poems like that are why lots of people have come to admire Nikki and her work.
And it's why a collection like "Bicycles" is a literary gem.

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