Nikki Giovanni Poem “Nikki-Rosa” read by Katya Schexnaydre; Shimer College Banned Books Week Readout


I’m gonna read a poem by Nikki Giovanni,
who’s one of my favorite poets. This from her book, “Black Feeling, Black Thought, Black Judgment,” published in 1968. This is called “Nikki-Rosa.” childhood remembrances are always a drag/
if you’re Black/ you always remember things like living in Woodlawn/
with no inside toilet/ and if you become famous or something/
they never talk about how happy you were to have/ your mother/
all to yourself and/ how good the water felt when you got your bath/
from one of those/ big tubs that folk in chicago barbecue in/
and somehow when you talk about home/ it never gets across how much you/
understood their feelings/ as the whole family attended meetings about Hollydale/
and even though you remember/ your biographers never understand/
your father’s pain as he sells his stock/ and another dream goes/
And though you’re poor it isn’t poverty that/ concerns you/
and though they fought a lot/ it isn’t your father’s drinking that makes any difference/
but only that everybody is together and you and your sister have happy birthdays and very good/
Christmases/ and I really hope no white person ever has cause/
to write about me/ because they never understand/
Black love is Black wealth and they’ll/ probably talk about my hard childhood/
and never understand that/ all the while I was quite happy [Reader]: Thank you [Applause]

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