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Nikki Giovanni is ready for Mars

Nikki Giovanni’s new Penguin Modern Classics collection, Poems: 1968-2020, marks the culmination of an extraordinary career. In the 1960s, Giovanni emerged as a politically engaged writer wedded to the cause of the civil rights movement. Since then she has been steadfast as an activist, public intellectual and innovator. Her writing has always been marked by directness and fearless truth-telling. She’s also renowned for her collaborations with myriad artists including actors and musicians, even an 80-strong choir. Poetry is at the centre of her life. Whether spoken or read it has the potency of an urgent bulletin from the pulpit of her mind. Ahead of her appearance in the UK’s Barbican Centre, Giovanni talked with WritersMosaic‘s director, Colin Grant, about her prodigious output, captured in the new collection, which explores the interplay of race, gender, music, all-consuming love, and the African American experience.