Archived Event

The Library Society has archived a recording of this event here.

Widely acclaimed poet and Knoxville native Nikki Giovanni will present the 2018 Wilma Dykeman Stokely Memorial Lecture on Thursday, April 5, at 7 p.m. at the Bijou Theatre.

Friends of the Knox County Public Library, the Library Society of the University of Tennessee, the Knox County Public Library, Union Ave Books, and WUOT are sponsors of this year’s lecture.

The lecture honors the late Wilma Dykeman Stokely (1920–2006), writer, speaker, teacher, historian, environmentalist and long-time friend of the Knox County Public Library. Her papers are part of the UT Knoxville Libraries’ Special Collections.

The author of almost 30 books for adults and children, Giovanni published her first book of poetry, Black Feeling Black Talk, in 1968. Her autobiography, Gemini, was a finalist for the National Book Award. Her most recent poetry collection, A Good Cry: What We Learn from Tears and Laughter, was published in October 2017 and has been described as “a rumination on her life and the people who have shaped her.”

Over the span of 30 years Giovanni has received 19 honorary degrees from colleges and universities as well as numerous achievement, humanitarian, and recognition awards from government, private and public organizations, including Woman of the Year for Ebony, Mademoiselle, Essence, and Ladies Home Journal magazines. She has also been awarded the YWCA Woman of the Year; the Outstanding Woman of Tennessee Award; an Ohio Women’s Hall of Fame induction; Outstanding Humanitarian Award from The House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Kentucky; two Tennessee Governor’s Awards in the Arts and Humanities; the Virginia Governor’s Award; Caldecott Honors for Rosa; and seven NAACP Image Awards. She was also the first recipient of the Rosa Parks Woman of Courage Award.

Giovanni is a University Distinguished Professor/English at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA. She continues to read her work across the country.

Read Chapter 16’s review of A Good Cry here.

Listen to Todd Steed’s conversation with Nikki Giovanni on WUOT here.


Nikki Giovanni reads “I Married My Mother” from A Good Cry


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