Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Nikki Giovanni

Love. What a complex image. Perhaps it is a non-image. Since "love" is an abstract, we cannot easily cement it to an image. Interestingly, Nikki Giovanni presents love from a first-person and a second-person perspective. In "A Poem of Friendship" she uses the plural first-person "we" to illustrate the love that she and her friend have, not the love they make. In her last stanza, the poet writes, "I will never miss you / because of what we do / but what we are / together" It is through Giovanni's brilliant, yet simple painting of an abstract that her audience is able to embrace love's complexity. Love is free - it does not need cement to trap one to another. In another poem, "My House" provides Giovanni another avenue toward the image of love. The speaker of this poem uses both first and second person to entrap an image of love through the expression of a desired kiss: "i only want to / be there to kiss you / as you want to be kissed / where i want to kiss you / cause its my house / and i plan to live in it ......" The reader is immediately captured by the speaker's intense sense of authority over the second person. Love. What a complex image, yet Nikki Giovanni allows her readers to curl up in front of a winter fire "like a silly poem [because she] want[s] to keep you warm."

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