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“I would not call myself a poetry reader, but there is something about Nikki Giovanni’s poetry that speaks to me so deeply. Sentimental and comforting, Make Me Rain covers a wide range of topics, from quilts and rising bread to the social change we so desperately need in our world. Giovanni’s wisdom and understanding once again prove why she is such a poetic powerhouse and leave the reader wanting to explore her past work again, too.”
— Beth Seufer Buss, Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC
One of America’s most celebrated poets challenges us with this powerful and deeply personal collection of verse that speaks to the injustices of society while illuminating the depths of her own heart.
For more than fifty years, Nikki Giovanni’s poetry has dazzled and inspired readers. As sharp and outspoken as ever, she returns with this profound book of poetry in which she continues to call attention to injustice and racism, celebrate Black culture and Black lives, and give readers an unfiltered look into her own experiences.
In Make Me Rain, she celebrates her loved ones and unapologetically declares her pride in her Black heritage, while exploring the enduring impact of the twin sins of racism and white nationalism. Giovanni reaffirms her place as a uniquely vibrant and relevant American voice with poems such as “I Come from Athletes” and “Rainy Days”—calling out segregation and Donald Trump; as well as “Unloved (for Aunt Cleota)” and “When I Could No Longer”—her personal elegy for the relatives who saved her from an abusive home life.
Stirring, provocative, and resonant, the poems in Make Me Rain pierce the heart and nourish the soul.
Nikki Giovanni, poet, activist, mother, and professor, is a seven-time NAACP Image Award winner and the first recipient of the Rosa Parks Woman of Courage Award, and holds the Langston Hughes Medal for Outstanding Poetry, among many other honors. The author of twenty-eight books and a Grammy nominee for The Nikki Giovanni Poetry Collection, she is the University Distinguished Professor of English at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia.
“Black love, Black struggle and Black joy have long been at the center of Giovanni’s work. Her newest book is thick with affection for African-American people in their everyday lives.” — New York Times
“Giovanni . . . celebrates in her poignant 20th collection art as redemptive of traumas past and present, illuminating the way in which ‘the blues is our encyclopedia’ . . . The most memorable moments in the collection reveal the cutting directness that made her a laureate of the Black Arts Movement.” — Publishers Weekly
“Nikki Giovanni—one of the great poets of any generation—still has much to impart in Make Me Rain, her hybrid autobiography of poems and prose. Given the tumultuous aspects of 2020, the disruptions and the dislocations of quotidian and public life, there’s a refreshing discordance in reading Giovanni’s newest and especially personal collection... This book is indeed a love letter, a celebration, both musical and soft-spoken, that doesn’t shy away from politics or pain, but is, above all, hopeful and thankful... History matters. Storytelling matters. Who we choose to be matters. Nikki Giovanni—this collection—reminds us of why.” — Chicago Review of Books
“The work of Nikki Giovanni has been as evolutionary as it has been revolutionary. One of the finest poets of our time. . . Her work still resonates.” — Ebony
“Nikki Giovanni’s work has always been remarkable for energy, venturesomeness, direct honesty, and courage.” — Gwendolyn Brooks