Poet Nikki Giovanni visits town to perform


Published: Thursday, January 13, 2011 at 8:18 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 13, 2011 at 8:18 p.m.

In conjunction with King Celebration 2011, Nikki Giovanni, a world-renown African-American poet, writer, commentator, activist and educator, will share her wisdom and experiences during "An Evening of Poetry, Love and Enlightenment."

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Poet and writer Nikki Giovanni will share her wisdom and experiences during “An Evening of Poetry, Love and Enlightenment,” a free performance at the Phillips Center. She also will sign her books after the show.

Special to the Guardian

Facts

Nikki Giovanni

What: "Nikki Giovanni: An Evening of Poetry, Love and Enlightenment.”

When: 7 p.m. Jan. 20.

Where: Phillips Center for the Performing Arts at SW 34th Street and Hull Road.

Cost: Free, but tickets available beginning at noon the day of the event at the Phillips Center Box Office.

Information: Visit http://multicultural.ufl.edu/mlk/.

Presented by the University of Florida and free to the public, "Nikki Giovanni: An Evening of Poetry, Love and Enlightenment" will be held at 7 p.m. Jan. 20 at the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts at SW 34th Street and Hull Road.

There will be a book signing immediately following Giovanni's performance, which is one of the activities of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Week — Jan. 17-23 — now in its fourth year at UF.

Jarrod N. Cruz, director of the UF Office of Multicultural and Diversity Affairs, said admission is free, but tickets will be handed out on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at noon the day of the event at the Phillips Center Box Office.

Cruz said those attending the performance can bring their own Giovanni books for signing.

However, the UF Bookstore will have her books available for purchase in the lobby of the Philips Center.

Born in Tennessee in 1943, Yolande Cornelia "Nikki" Giovanni is an acclaimed artist who is respected the world over as a poet, writer, commentator, activist and educator.

Through her outspokenness, writings and lectures, Giovanni shares her experiences, continues to fight for civil rights and equality, and maintains a prominent place as a strong voice of the black community.

Giovanni is the author of some 30 books for both adults and children and the recipient of countless awards, including three NAACP Image Awards for literature and the Langston Hughes Award for distinguished contributions to arts and letters.

Giovanni is a distinguished professor at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va.

Cruz said the theme of the UF King Celebration is "MLK 2011: Leave Your Mark," which was inspired by a letter written by Coretta Scott King, his wife, where she said King's celebration should also commemorate his values, which include courage, truth, justice, compassion, dignity, humility and service.

Cruz said Giovanni's presentation will focus on "justice."

"We've adopted an eighth value — tolerance," said Cruz. "All the events (during the weeklong celebration) will be reflective of all those values."

Cruz said the purpose of the celebration is to empower the UF community to see their role in continuing the legacy of Dr. King and to inspire them to use their strengths, passions, and talents to better the lives of others and to impact their local and global community.

"I hope all participants will reflect on Giovanni's experiences and her thoughtful poetry, her activism and her passion for the arts and for art expression," Cruz said. "I hope they find their own passion and voice for future activism."

For information about King Week at the UF, visit http://multicultural.ufl.edu/mlk/.

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