70 Best Nikki Giovanni Quotes

Nikki Giovanni is a well-known poet in the United States. Giovanni has written a number of collections of poetry, including her first self-published volume Black Feeling Black Talk (1968) to the New York Times best-selling Bicycles: Love Poems (2009), as well as nonfiction and children’s literature, and a number of videos, including the Emmy-nominated The Nikki Giovanni Show.

Make Me Rain: Poems and Prose (2020), Chasing Utopia: A Hybrid (2013), and The 100 Best African American Poems (as editor) are among her most recent works (2010). Giovanni has taught at Rutgers University, Ohio State University, and Virginia Tech, where she is a University Distinguished Professor, and is a regular lecturer and reader.

Best Nikki Giovanni Quotes on Poems:


“Deal with yourself as a individual,

worthy of respect and make everyone else

deal with you the same way.”

-Nikki Giovanni


“I love you

because no two snowflakes are alike,

and it is possible, if you stand tippy-toe,

to walk between the raindrops.”

-Nikki Giovanni


“A lot of people resist transition and

therefore never allow themselves

to enjoy who they are.

Embrace the change,

no matter what it is; once you do,

you can learn about the new world you’re in

and take advantage of it”

-Nikki Giovanni Quotes


70 Best Nikki Giovanni Quotes

“Mistakes are a fact of life. It is the response to the error that counts.”

-Nikki Giovanni Quotes


Some say we are responsible for those we love.

Others know we are responsible for those who love us.

-Nikki Giovanni


You must invent your own games and

teach us old ones how to play.

-Nikki Giovanni


“She knows who she is,

because she knows who she isn’t.”

-Nikki Giovanni Quotes


“There is always something to do.

There are hungry people to feed,

naked people to clothe,

sick people to comfort and make well.

And while I don’t expect you to save the world

I do think it’s not asking too much

for you to love those with whom you sleep,

share the happiness of those whom you call friend,

engage those among you who are visionary and

remove from your life those who offer you depression,

despair and disrespect.”

-Nikki Giovanni Quotes


“The world is not a pleasant place to be

without someone to hold and be held by.”

-Nikki Giovanni


“I want to be clear about this.

If you wrote from experience,

you’d get maybe one book,

maybe three poems.

Writers write from empathy.”

-Nikki Giovanni


“We love because it’s the only true adventure.”

-Nikki Giovanni Quotes


“[My] Books are like puppies and children:

you love each one for different reasons.

I don’t actually have a favourite because,

if I were honest, I’m always more excited

about what is coming.”

-Nikki Giovanni


“A lot of people resist transition and

therefore never allow themselves

to enjoy who they are.

Embrace the change,

no matter what it is;

once you do, you can learn about the new world

you’re in and take advantage of it.

-Nikki Giovanni Quotes


”We can leave it to history

as neither a discipline nor sociology

nor science nor economics

to tell the story of our people.” 

-Nikki Giovanni


70 Best Nikki Giovanni Quotes

“If I can’t do what I want to do,

then my job is to not do what I want to do.

It’s not the same thing,

but it’s the best thing I can do.”

-Nikki Giovanni


“Nothing is easy to the unwilling.”

-Nikki Giovanni


I am feeling and have learned

to distrust those who do not.”

-Nikki Giovanni


“If I can’t do
what I want to do
then my job is to not
do what I don’t want to do

It’s not the same thing
but it’s the best I can do

If I can’t have what i want … then
my job is to want what I’ve got
and be satisfied that at least there
is something more to want

Since I can’t go where I need
to go … then I must … go
where the signs point throug
h always
isn’t lateral

When I can’t express what i really feel
I practice feeling what I can express
and none of it is equal

I know but that’s why mankind
alone among the animals
learns to cry.”

-Nikki Giovanni


Art is not for the cultivated taste.

It is to cultivate taste.

-Nikki Giovanni Quotes


70 Best Nikki Giovanni Quotes

“Now, everything I do, I do because I want to.

And I believe the best is yet to come.”

-Nikki Giovanni


“Style has a profound meaning to Black Americans.

If we can’t drive, we will invent walks and

the world will envy the dexterity of our feet.

If we can’t have ham, we will boil chitterlings;

If we are given rotten peaches, we will make cobblers;

If given scraps, we will make quilts;

take away our drums, and we will clap our hands.

We prove the human spirit will prevail.

We will take what we have to make what we need.

We need confidence in our knowledge of who we are.”

-Nikki Giovanni


“If you don’t understand yourself

you don’t understand anybody else.”

-Nikki Giovanni


“We write because we believe the human spirit

cannot be tamed and should not be trained.”

-Nikki Giovanni


70 Best Nikki Giovanni Quotes

“Everything will change.

The only question is

growing up or decaying.”

-Nikki Giovanni Quotes


When life is a journey,

why would there be a destination?

You go not to go there, but to go there. ”

-Nikki Giovanni


Ego Tripping

I was born in the congo
I walked to the fertile crescent and built
the sphinx
I designed a pyramid so tough that a star
that only glows every one hundred years falls
into the center giving divine perfect light
I am bad

I sat on the throne
drinking nectar with allah
I got hot and sent an ice age to europe
to cool my thirst
My oldest daughter is nefertiti
the tears from my birth pains
created the nile
I am a beautiful woman

I gazed on the forest and burned
out the sahara desert
with a packet of goat’s meat
and a change of clothes
I crossed it in two hours
I am a gazelle so swift
so swift you can’t catch me

For a birthday present when he was three
I gave my son hannibal an elephant
He gave me rome for mother’s day
My strength flows ever on

My son noah built new/ark and
I stood proudly at the helm
as we sailed on a soft summer day
I turned myself into myself and was
men intone my loving name
All praises All praises
I am the one who would save

I sowed diamonds in my back yard
My bowels deliver uranium
the filings from my fingernails are
semi-precious jewels
On a trip north
I caught a cold and blew
My nose giving oil to the arab world
I am so hip even my errors are correct
I sailed west to reach east and had to round off
the earth as I went
The hair from my head thinned and gold was laid
across three continents

I am so perfect so divine so ethereal so surreal
I cannot be comprehended except by my permission

I mean…I…can fly
like a bird in the sky…”

-Nikki Giovanni Quotes


“I am proud of the hip hop generation.

They are good business people and,

actually, good people.”

-Nikki Giovanni


“Poetry and music are very good friends.

Like mommies and daddies and strawberries and cream ,

they go together.”

-Nikki Giovanni


”I really feel that life is not about I-could-been.

Life is only about I-try-to-do.

I don’t mind failure, but I can’t imagine

if I will forgive myself if I do not try. ”

-Nikki Giovanni

Best Nikki Giovanni love quotes


“I grow old though pleased with my memories.

The tasks I can no longer complete

Are balanced by the love of the tasks gone past

I offer no apology only this plea:

When I am frayed and strained and drizzle at the end

Please someone cut a square and put me in a quilt

That I might keep some child warm

And some old person with no one else to talk to

Will hear my whispers And cuddle near.”

-Nikki Giovanni


“Black love is Black wealth and

they’ll probably talk about my hard childhood and

never understand that all the while

I was quite happy.”

-Nikki Giovanni


“Of the many foundations upon which humans rest,

words are probably the most solid.”

-Nikki Giovanni


“Floating to shore,

riding a low moon,

on a slow cloud.”

-Nikki Giovanni


“For most of my life,

I’ve thought of myself

as pretty cool.”

-Nikki Giovanni


“I spend a lot of time learning

about bird watching.”

-Nikki Giovanni


 “Life is a marvellous, transitory adventure.”

-Nikki Giovanni


70 Best Nikki Giovanni Quotes

”There are things you stand for

because it is right.” 

-Nikki Giovanni Quotes


“If you’re a writer,

the answer to everything is


-Nikki Giovanni


Who I really am keeps surprising me.

-Nikki Giovanni


“Everything will change.

The only question is

growing up or decaying.”

-Nikki Giovanni


 “And mostly we need to pick and

choose Who we listen to

so we follow our own path Yeah

we need to follow our own path.”

-Nikki Giovanni


“And you will understand all too soon
That you, my children of battle, are your heroes”

-Nikki Giovanni


“My work is a part of me and I know it.

I have no reason to try to pick one part of me out from the rest.

I only see my work, or rather I should say

I see my work only telling my part of the human experience.”

-Nikki Giovanni


“We believe ‘Peter Rabbit’ because

Beatrix Potter believes it.

You have to.”

-Nikki Giovanni


“Life is a process where people mix and match,

fall apart and come back together.”

-Nikki Giovanni


”If you’re sitting there waiting for someone

to tell you how amazing you are,

you should never do anything.

Women need to be women.

I’m tired of that socialization of women;

we Always sitting to make someone happy. ”

-Nikki Giovanni Quotes


“And you will understand all too soon.

That you, my children of battle, are your heroes.”

-Nikki Giovanni


“We obviously need the truth.

We’re living in a country of lies.”

-Nikki Giovanni


“Everything will change.

The only question is

growing up or decaying.”

-Nikki Giovanni


“Floating to shore…

riding a low moon…

on a slow cloud.”

-Nikki Giovanni


“History is wonderful.

We have so much we can learn

if we would quit making ideology out of history,

and just deal with what happened.”

-Nikki Giovanni Quotes


“Black Poetry is not for Black People,

it is for everybody.”

-Nikki Giovanni


“Today I am 65 years old.

I still look good.

I appreciate and enjoy my age.

A lot of people resist transition and

therefore never allow themselves

to enjoy who they are.

Embrace the change,

no matter what it is;

once you do, you can learn about

the new world you’re in and take advantage of it.

You still bring to bear all your prior experience,

but you are riding on another level.

It’s completely liberating.”

-Nikki Giovanni Quotes


“I’m just totally fascinated

by people.”

-Nikki Giovanni


“The more you love someone

the more he wants from you and

the less you have to give since

you’ve already given him your love.”

-Nikki Giovanni


The only way you can grow is

to allow yourself to make mistakes

and create contradictions.

Some of our old attitudes

will change as we learn new things. ”

-Nikki Giovanni


”Nobody needs to teach you to be mean;

We should be taught to be kind. ”

-Nikki Giovanni


“Writers don’t write from experience,

although many are hesitant to admit that they don’t.

If you wrote from experience,

you’d get maybe one book, maybe three poems.

Writers write from empathy.”

-Nikki Giovanni


“If I could come back as anything ,

I’d be a bird, first,

but definitely the command key is

my second choice.”

-Nikki Giovanni


“As far as you think,

no matter how useless you are,

follow your image.

Push yourself. “

-Nikki Giovanni


“I’m glad I understand that

while language is a gift,

listening is a responsibility. “

-Nikki Giovanni Quotes


“Art offers sanctuary to everyone

willing to open their Hearts

as well as their Eyes.”

-Nikki Giovanni


“I think one of the nicest things that

we created as a generation was just the fact that

we could say, ‘Hey, I don’t like white people.'”

-Nikki Giovanni


“I really don’t think life is about the I-could-have-been.

Life is only about the I-tried-to-do.

I don’t mind the failure but I can’t imagine that

I’d forgive myself if I didn’t try.”

-Nikki Giovanni


“The problem with love is not what we feel but

what we wish we felt when we began to feel

we should feel something.”

-Nikki Giovanni


“I am totally fascinated by people and our history

as I understand and continue to explore it.

People have so much to give and so far to go and

yet we have given and gone a great distance.

It’s really just interesting to ask: why not?

And see where that takes me.”

-Nikki Giovanni Quotes


“I am a huge fan of the Black woman.

I never hesitate to recommend her

when times are bad or things go wrong.”

-Nikki Giovanni


70 Best Nikki Giovanni Quotes

“Favorite poems are like favorite children.

We definitely have them but we never tell

as the others would have their feelings hurt.”

-Nikki Giovanni Quotes


“Daddy says the world is
a drum-tight and hard
and I told him
I’m gonna beat
out my own rhythm”

-Nikki Giovanni


“I had a really nice childhood;

I had great parents.

I earned my allowance by washing dishes,

and in the summer I earned my allowance

by working in daddy’s garden.”

-Nikki Giovanni


“We are strong enough to stand tall tearlessly,

we are brave enough to bend to cry,

and we are sad enough to know that

we must laugh again.”

-Nikki Giovanni Quotes

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External Reference

Information about Nikki Giovanni

FAQ on Nikki Giovanni love quotes

What is Nikki Giovanni's most famous poem?

Giovanni’s prose poem “Nikki-Rosa,” about her upbringing in a close-knit African American family, first appeared in Black Judgement. The poem broadened her appeal, becoming her most well-known and anthologized work.

What is Nikki Giovanni style of writing?

Style of writing Nikki Giovonni’s writing style is unique. She writes in a dialect that is difficult to understand. She also employs the use of vernacular, which can be difficult for non-native speakers to comprehend if they are not from the same area or ethnicity as she is.

Is Nikki Giovanni African American?

Giovanni is a 71-year-old African-American poet from Cincinnati, Ohio, who grew up in an all-black neighbourhood. Her daily life and surroundings provided her with the opportunity to write literature.

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