Those Who Ride the Night Winds by Nikki Giovanni

Copyright 1983
Checked out 6 times in 27 years
Last checked out 7 years ago

[A Note Many Months After Original Posting: Much to my surprise, this is one of the most regularly searched-for books among those I have reviewed. Please make a comment letting me know what sent you searching for this book or poem on the internet.]

This book by Nikki Giovanni (early/mid-career) is a fine diversity selection for the Albertville library both in terms of being by an African American poet, the liberal politics expressed, and the odd prosey poetry within it which relies heavily on ellipses to separate phrases. Despite the unconventional form, her poetry is very accessible. My favorite after looking over the book casually is “I Wrote a Good Omelet.” Here are the first two stanzas:

I wrote a good omelet . . . and ate a hot poem . . .
after loving you

Buttoned my car . . . and drove my coat home . . . in the rain . . .
after loving you

This book isn’t getting great circulation, and it’s difficult to say whether Giovanni’s poetry will stand the test of time. If at some point in the future this book goes 20 years without anyone showing interest in it, then it will be time to let it go so it can find a home in a the personal library of someone who will appreciate it.


About jppoetryreader

Poetry reviewer and poetry consultant for libraries
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2 Responses to Those Who Ride the Night Winds by Nikki Giovanni

  1. Marni says:

    I’m searching for a Nikki Giovanni poem for my daughter to recite to her book club. Your site came up in a Google search.

    • Thanks so much for letting me know. I was wondering if perhaps Giovanni was assigned reading in schools. Very cool that your daughter is in a book club that includes reciting poetry.

      Best of luck finding Giovanni’s work online. I just did a quickee search and found a lot about her but few of her poems. It may be easier to find her books at the library.

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