Nikki Giovanni is a bold personality. And she’s brimming with wisdom.
As part of a joint effort by Westminster College and SLCC, Giovanni delivered a keynote speech that celebrated the human experience and shed light on what it means to feel in 2018.
Despite the pain many Americans have felt over the past year, SLCC’s Grand Theatre was filled with laughter and hope, at least for a night, as Giovanni candidly spoke on love, social issues, the current administration and the importance of proper grieving. Reassuring all in attendance that it is perfectly fine to cry. In fact it’s a skill.
“My doctor says the reason I have high blood pressure is because I eat too much salt and that I keep things in … that’s not the reason I have high blood pressure,” Giovanni said. “I have high blood pressure because i never learned to cry. Crying is a skill … if you would learn to cry and to trust the people you can cry about, or with, your world will change.”
Giovanni read six poems, many of which can be found in her newest collection, that spoke to the overarching theme of her speech: understanding love in all it’s forms and embracing the truth that being human is to be loving. And how that love can heal and foster closeness.
Following her speech and reading, Giovanni sat with SLCC Poet Laureate, Lisa Bickmore, for a brief Q & A session. Giovanni answered questions about the pride she has in social justice movements and the lives of African-Americans. She also expressed her thoughts on the role of poetry in social change and offered some poetry recommendations.
Giovanni’s latest collection is entitled, A Good Cry: What We Learn From Tears and Laughter.