Nikki Giovanni giving free poetry reading at Emory during Black History Month

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Who is Nikki Giovanni? Yolanda Cornelia "Nikki" Giovanni was born in Knoxville, Tennessee in 1943 and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. Before graduating from the historically black university, Fisk University, in 1967, she worked with the school's writer's workshop and helped revive the school chapter of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Giovanni went on to attend graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University in New York. By 1968, she self-published "Black Fee

This story has been updated to reflect a change to the details of the Nikki Giovanni poetry reading.

This year, Black History Month will be rounded out with a free poetry reading by Nikki Giovanni. The award-winning poet and activist will read her work at Emory University’s Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts.

» RELATED: 11 ways to celebrate Black History Month in Atlanta

The Feb. 22 event, which is part of the 15th season of the Raymond Danowski Poetry Library Reading Series, doesn’t require tickets, but space will be limited. At the reading, books and a limited-edition broadsheet will be sold. Immediately following the reading, Giovanni will be available for a signing.

The reading is sponsored by the Hightower Fund. Emory Library and Information Technology Services the Rose Library and the Creative Writing Program at Emory provided support.

Ahead of the reading, Giovanni will be a guest speaker at the 12th Night Revel, the fundraising event for Rose Library, which houses archives, documents and other records.

Giovanni is no stranger to college campuses — she is a professor herself. After starting her English teaching career at Virginia Tech in 1989, she became a university distinguished professor a decade later. That came after stints instructing at Rutgers University and Ohio State University.

» RELATED: 7 uncommon places to learn about black history in Atlanta

Her origins are in poetry that primarily focuses on gender and race. Beginning with 1968’s “Black Feeling, Black Talk,” the Fisk University graduate has published numerous poetry collections — including those for children — essays, conversations and recordings. Among the audio, “The Nikki Giovanni Poetry Collection” earned a Grammy nomination for best spoken word album. Giovanni’s recent works include 2013’s poetry collection “Chasing Utopia: A Hybrid” and the children’s poetry collection “I Am Loved,” released in 2018.

Free poetry reading by Nikki Giovanni
4 p.m.-5:30 p.m. Saturday, February 22
Emory University Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts: 1700 N Decatur Road NE, Atlanta