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The NYPL Podcast

Podcast #193: Nikki Giovanni & Joy-Ann Reid


The New York Public Library Podcast features your favorite writers, artists, and thinkers in smart talks and provocative conversations. Listen to some of our most engaging programs, discover new ideas, and celebrate the best of today’s culture.


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This past November, titan of American poetry, Nikki Giovanni, spoke at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture with the host of MSNBC’s AM Joy, Joy-Ann Reid. She was there to talk about her latest poetry collection, A Good Cry. Reid and Giovanni covered everything from Giovanni's attitude about aging, the memories she has of first meeting James Baldwin, and how good Maya Angelou may or may not have been at cooking chicken. The book also takes on intimate subjects such as Giovanni's memories of the violence of her father during her childhood and the student at Virginia Tech she taught who went on to massacre 33 of his schoolmates in 2006.

For all that seriousness, what shines through more than anything here is perhaps how unbelievably funny Nikki Giovanni is. Like any seasoned comedian, the poet manages to find humor even amid stark tales of heartbreak and moments of profound personal insight. I would venture that on average there is a laugh line about every 30 seconds during this conversation. So be prepared—this listener was caught guffawing out loud on subways and city streets while listening back to this one.

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very memory was Poet in my past I read so may books when I hear a name it refreshes my memory of the many diiferent books I read by many authors

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