MY HOUSE by Nikki Giovanni


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Nikki Giovanni's mind and style are divided here as before between raging denunciation and gentle psalmistry. Both are essential to her increasingly prominent public image as black-female-poet-spokesman and certainly to the role of resident genius her admirers have assigned her. It isn't an easy position to be in, and the conflict is beginning to tell. She herself tells it more or less directly -- ""i'm bored with categories,"" ""i'm giving up/ on words,"" and, in a mood of testy self-pity, ""as soon as i die i hope everyone who loved me learns/ the meaning/ of my death. . ./ don't do what you do very well very well and enjoy it/ scares white folk/ and makes black ones truly mad. . ."" In this frame of mind she does not always do very well, and some of the poems -- flailing, approximate ones -- seem to have been written only because they were expected of her. Others, especially a little group of homey lyrics dumped at the beginning, are well up to her standard. The most striking thing about them is what always gives her poetry a certain special substance -- her feeling for the richness of black speech.

Pub Date: Nov. 20th, 1972
Publisher: Morrow