Interview With Nikki Giovanni

By Zach Davis


Acclaimed poet, Virginia Tech professor and 2015 Shepherd University Writer-in-Residence Nikki Giovanni sat down with fluent for a wide-ranging, thoughtful and frequently funny interview.

FLUENT: So when did you realize that you wanted to be—or when did you realize you were—a storyteller or poet?
Nikki Giovanni: I think my teachers from a long time ago all sort of praised my papers and that kind of thing, but I don’t think I realized I needed to take it seriously until I was a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania. I went to Penn for social work school because everyone I ever loved was a social worker. A professor of mine, Dr. Schumacher, asked if I’d like to go to lunch one day–which is usually bad news, you know–but I went. At the lunch she said, “Dr. Rosenblum and I have been reading your papers, and we’ve reached a conclusion: You’re never going to be a social worker.”


To read the rest of the interview, please see the magazine.