In black love poetry, Nikki Giovanni is one of the greatest living figures.

Nikki Giovanni, (b.1943) is the most prolific black love poetry writer I have for you on my page. I have about a dozen of her best for your enjoyment.

Very much an epitome of the contemporary poet, she was born in Knoxville Tennessee, brought up in Cincinnati, Ohio and educated in the all-black Fisk University. At College she got involved in two passions that would continue to dominate her life, literature and politics.

In 1967, she became actively involved in the Black Arts movement, a loose coalition of African-American intellectuals who wrote politically and artistically radical poems aimed at raising awareness of black rights and promoting the struggle for racial equality. Radicalized by the assasination of Malcolm X and by the rise of the militant Black Panthers, her poetry in the 1960s and 1970s was colorful and combative and for that generation, her writings epitomised this period of tumult and racial tension in American history.

Nikki Giovanni has actually published a book of Love Poems which contain her musings on the subject, written between 1968 and 1997. Verses from three decades of her works exhibit a range of emotions from romantic love, to love of country, friends, children and family. At times she found even the poetic medium insufficient to effectively communicate depth of emotion on our favorite subject:

How do you write a poem/ about someone so close to you that when you say ahhhhh/ they say chuuuuu/ what can they ask you to put/ on paper that isn’t already written/ on your face/ and does the paper make it/ any more real../

A cancer survivor, Nikki Giovanni is currently a professor at Virginia Tech, where she teaches English. Her poetry continues to inspire and set standards. Let us venture into her world of black love poetry:

Love Is

Some people forget that love is

tucking you in and kissing you

"Good night"

no matter how young or old you are

Some people don't remember that

love is

listening and laughing and asking


no matter what your age

Few recognize that love is

commitment, responsibility

no fun at all


Love is

You and me

A Poem Of Friendship

We are not lovers

because of the love

we make

but the love

we have

We are not friends

because of the laughs

we spend

but the tears

we save

I don't want to be near you

for the thoughts we share

but the words we never have

to speak

I will never miss you

because of what we do

but what we are


Here are two more examples of Nikki Giovanni's black love poetry:

A Summer Love Poem

Clouds float by on a summer sky

I hop scotch over to you

Rainbows arch from ground to gold

I climb over to you

Thunder grumbles, lightning tumbles

And I bounce over to you

Sun beams back and catches me

over at you

I Wrote A Good Omelet

I wrote a good omelet...and ate

a hot poem... after loving you

Buttoned my car...and drove my

coat the rain...

after loving you

I goed on red...and stopped on

green...floating somewhere in between...

being here and being there...

after loving you

I rolled my bed...turned down

my hair...slightly

confused but...I don't care...

Laid out my teeth...and gargled my

gown...then I stood

...and laid me down...

To sleep...

after loving you

Here are another two examples of black love poetry from Nikki:


i haven't written a poem in so long

may have forgotten how

unless writing a poem

is like riding a bike

or swimming upstream

or loving you

it may be a habit that once aquired

is never lost

but you say i'm foolish

of course you love me

but being loved of course

is not the same as being loved because

or being loved despite

or being loved

if you love me why

do i feel so lonely

and why do i always wake up alone

and why am i practicing

not having you to love

i never loved you that way

You Came, Too

I came to the crowd seeking friends

I came to the crowd seeking love

I came to the crowd for understanding

I found you

I came to the crowd to weep

I came to the crowd to laugh

You dried my tears

You shared my happiness

I went from the crowd seeking you

I went from the crowd seeking me

I went from the crowd forever

You came, too

Nikki Giovanni's black love poetry speaks from the soul. It is easy to see why she is a hugely popular contemporary poet. She speaks from the heart and her syntax is clear and set out simply. Her black love poetry is so refreshing and bubbly. It is easy to fall under its spell.

If you would like more of her black love poetry, see below:

Nikki Giovanni 2

Paul Dunbar

Famous Black Love Poetry 1

African 1

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