Nikki Giovanni quotes will help you feel motivated to make a positive difference.
Nikki Giovanni is an accomplished poet, professor, and social activist. In her most recent work, she said that “In my writing, I have been trying to find my voice-sometimes in poems, sometimes in essays. And it seems that poetry is the place where I can be most honest.” She was born in Knoxville, Tennessee on June 7, 1943.
Her father served as a Pullman porter for the railroad company. Her mother was a housekeeper and factory worker who died when Nikki was six years old. When she was eight years old she began writing poetry partly as a way to connect with her mother. The first poem that is attributed to Nikki Giovanni was published when she was just thirteen years old.
Top 50 Nikki Giovanni Quotes
1. “Mistakes are a fact of life. It is the response to error that counts.”― Nikki Giovanni
2. “Everything will change. The only question is growing up or decaying.” ― Nikki Giovanni
3. “We love because it’s the only true adventure” ― Nikki Giovanni
4. “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
5. “Mistakes are a fact of life. It is the response to the error that counts.” ― Nikki Giovanni
6. “Poetry is like air. It’s one of the necessary things. Everyone benefits from poetry. And as you know, poetry is international. There are only two things that are truly international, poetry and wine.” ― Nikki Giovanni
7. “Poems don’t have to rhyme. Poems are about beauty and emotion; in other words, poems are about feelings.” ― Nikki Giovanni
8. “Everyone understands that love comes in many different packages and is used in many different ways. You cannot love beyond your years, nor can you fail to love beneath them. In other words, I think you get the love you need when you open your heart.” ― Nikki Giovanni
9. “We are all either wheels or connectors. Whichever we are we must find truth and balance, which is a bicycle. Trust and balance are also essential to true love.” ― Nikki Giovanni
10. “My main strength as a young writer was that I had no fear of making mistakes. I knew I would and I knew I could and would learn from them.” ― Nikki Giovanni
11. “We write because we believe the human spirit cannot be tamed and should not be trained.” ― Nikki Giovanni
12. “You must invent your own games and teach us old ones how to play.”― Nikki Giovanni
13. “Kevin Powell is pushing to bring, as he has so brilliantly done before, the voices of his generation: the concerns, the cares, the fears and the fearlessness.”― Nikki Giovanni
14. “The only advice [for new writers and poets] I can offer is to be yourself: not the self-someone else wants you to be, but the self you are. Enjoy yourself and your life. But most of all travel and eat. That’s how we learn.” ― Nikki Giovanni
15. “The ability to take pride in your own work is one of the hallmarks of sanity.” ― Nikki Giovanni
16. “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.” ― Nikki Giovanni
18. “I hope I die warmed by the life that I tried to live.” ― Nikki Giovanni
19. “Once you know who you are, you don’t have to worry anymore.” ― Nikki Giovanni
20. “The world is not a pleasant place to be without someone to hold and be held by.” ― Nikki Giovanni
21. “Life is a process where people mix and match, fall apart and come back together.” ― Nikki Giovanni
22. “The only way you can grow is to let yourself make mistakes and create contradictions. As we learn new things, some of our old attitudes will change.” ― Nikki Giovanni
23. “No one needs to teach you to be mean; we need to be taught to be kind.”― Nikki Giovanni
24. “If you are sitting there waiting for someone to tell you how wonderful you are, you’ll never get anything done. Women need to get over being women. I’m tired of that socialization of women; that we are always supposed to be sitting around pleasing somebody.” ― Nikki Giovanni
25. “We have a world to conquer…one person at a time…starting with ourselves.” ― Nikki Giovanni
26. “If you don’t understand yourself, you don’t understand anybody else.” ― Nikki Giovanni
27. “Follow your image as far as you can no matter how useless you think it is. Push yourself.”― Nikki Giovanni
28. “There are things you stand up for because it’s right.” ― Nikki Giovanni
29. “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
30. “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
31. “Everybody owns themselves. It’s all we’ve got. We have every right to be us. We have every right to satisfy our own needs with the life that we were given. I have no idea, no concept, of why people could ever thing that they could own other people.” ― Nikki Giovanni
32. “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
33. “Now, everything I do, I do because I want to. And I believe the best is yet to come.” ― Nikki Giovanni
34. “If everybody became a poet the world would be much better. We would all read to each other.” ― Nikki Giovanni
35. “Deal with yourself as an individual worthy of respect and make everyone else deal with you the same way.” ― Nikki Giovanni
36. “I really don’t think life is about the I-could-have-beens. 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
37. ”If now isn’t a good time for the truth, I don’t see when we’ll get to it.” ― Nikki Giovanni
38. “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
39. “You do what you can with what you have. You have to work the edges whatever they are. The main thing is keeping your integrity.” ― Nikki Giovanni
40. “A lot of people refuse to do things because they don’t want to go naked, don’t want to go without guarantee. But that’s what’s got to happen. You go naked until you die.” ― Nikki Giovanni
41. “Everybody that loves freedom loves Harriet Tubman because she was determined not only to be free, but to make free as many people as she could.”― Nikki Giovanni
42. “If you were a pure bolt of fire-cutting the skies I’d touch you-risking my life-not because I’m brave or strong, but because I’m fascinated by what the outcome would be.”― Nikki Giovanni
43. “In order to have a happy ending, in order to be triumphant, in order to be heroic, you have to tell your own story. The women’s movement knows that; black people know that; brown people know that; yellow people know that. You have to be able to tell your own story in order to show that you are worthy–that you belong.” ― Nikki Giovanni
44. “The unwillingness to try is worse than any failure.” ― Nikki Giovanni
45. “Before you jump off a bridge or hang yourself or be unhappy please consider: live for yourself; those who hate you have no purchase.”― Nikki Giovanni
46. “I am honest; I try to be truthful. I like people and wish us well. We are not always deserving of our own best wishes.” ― Nikki Giovanni
47. “If I could come back as anything – I’d be a bird, first, but definitely the command key is my second choice.” ― Nikki Giovanni
48. “I like what they’re doing. I think they’re doing a good job, and I know that a lot of people are upset by them. These are great young men and women, and they’re bold, and they are saying to America, “Something’s going to change.” I’m very proud of them.”― Nikki Giovanni
49. “Just as nature abhors a vacuum, humans resist change. Change will occur; vacuums will be filled.” ― Nikki Giovanni
50. “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
“Black Poetry is not for Black People…it is for everybody.” ― 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
“Of the many foundations upon which humans rest, words are probably the most solid.”― Nikki Giovanni
“Poetry and music are very good friends. Like mommies and daddies and strawberries and cream – they go together.” ― Nikki Giovanni
“Don’t want to be near you for the thoughts we share but the words we never have to speak.”― Nikki Giovanni
“Art is not for the cultivated taste. It is to cultivate taste.” ― Nikki Giovanni
“If you’re a writer, the answer to everything is yes.”― Nikki Giovanni
“We cannot leave it to history as a discipline nor to sociology nor science nor economics to tell the story of our people.”― Nikki Giovanni
“I move on feeling and have learned to distrust those who don’t.”― Nikki Giovanni
“Why would there be a destination when life itself is a journey? You go not to get there but to be there.”― Nikki Giovanni
“VISIBILITY – You’ve got to find a way to make people know you’re there.”― Nikki Giovanni
“No matter what else is wrong in the world a book will take you away from it.”― Nikki Giovanni
“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“I mine the human soul For undiscovered strength.”― Nikki Giovanni― Nikki Giovanni Click To Tweet
Nikki Giovanni Life
Author, poet, activist, educator, and historian Nikki Giovanni has led a truly inspiring life. Born in Knoxville, Tennessee in 1943 to Jamaican immigrants, Giovanni’s childhood was marked with poverty and violence.
These terrible hardships caused her to become more aware of the marginalized populations who were similarly struggling. As she grew up, she became an influential figure not only for African Americans but also for women and the LGBTQ community.
Nikki Giovanni education
Nikki Giovanni was born in Knoxville, Tennessee to parents who were both social workers. She attended Knoxville’s segregated elementary school and graduated from Booker T. Washington High School. Following high school she attended Fisk University, where she graduated with a degree in English, focusing on 19th-century poets.
After graduation, she studied at the University of Chicago for her master’s degree. There she met her future husband Michael Dennison, whom she married in 1969.
Why should we follow Nikki Giovanni
Nikki Giovanni is an African-American woman, teacher, and author. She has written many poems about Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and other African-Americans who have lived in the United States. Many of her poems are focused on civil rights activism.
Her work has been published in various magazines and newspapers, including “Cosmopolitan.” Giovanni is known for being very outspoken about her views on the state of race relations in America, as well as racism around the world.
Nikki Giovanni has done much in her lifetime to raise awareness about social issues. Her parents were both educators and encouraged her to read widely and speak at length about what she had learned.
The Power of Quotes: the words of poet Nikki Giovanni have been an inspiration for many people from different walks of life. In her acceptance speech from being awarded the National Medal of Arts, she explained how she could never have imagined her influences to grow so much in such a short amount of time. Her words will be here for years to come and inspire generations to come.