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Nikki Giovanni

Nikki Giovanni, born Yolande Cornelia Giovanni, Jr., has received many awards for her poetry, nonfiction, and recordings. Born in Knoxville, Tennessee, Giovanni graduated with honors from Fisk University and also attended the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University. A teacher and lecturer as well as a writer, Giovanni founded her own publishing company at the age of 27. Giovanni's poems often reflect her childhood in Tennessee and her experiences as an African American. She says, "I write out of my own experiences--which also happen to be the experiences of my people. Human beings fascinate me. I just keep trying to dissect them poetically to see what's there."