OCTOBER 13-16, 2022

and year round


Make Me Rain - Nikki Giovanni, Kiese Laymon - <span class="date-display-single">10/15/2020 - 7:00pm</span>

Make Me Rain

10/15/2020 - 7:00pm


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 thirty years, Nikki Giovanni’s poetry has inspired, enlightened, and dazzled readers. As sharp and outspoken as ever, this artist long hailed as a healer and a sage returns with this profound book of poetry in which she continues to call attention to injustice and give readers an unfiltered look into the most private parts of herself.


Nikki Giovanni will appear live on Crowdcast in conversation with Kiese Laymon, author of HeavyJoin the event at: https://www.crowdcast.io/e/wbf-make-me-rain. Before the event begins, you will see a countdown and the event image. Presented as part of Madison College's Journey Toward Anti-Racism.


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

About Presenter Nikki Giovanni


Poet, activist, mother, and professor Nikki Giovanni was born June 7, 1943, in Knoxville, Tennessee. While attending Fisk University, she re-established the campus’s Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) Chapter in 1965. Over her long, acclaimed career, Nikki has received nineteen honorary degrees from colleges and universities; numerous achievement, humanitarian, and recognition awards from government, private, and public organizations, including Woman of the Year from Ebony, Mademoiselle, Essence, and Ladies’ Home Journal magazines; YWCA Woman of the Year; Outstanding Woman of Tennessee Award; Ohio Women’s Hall of Fame induction; Distinguished Recognition Award, Detroit City Council; McDonald’s Literary Achievement Award for Poetry presented in the name of Nikki Giovanni in perpetuity; Outstanding Humanitarian Award, The House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Kentucky; two Tennessee Governor’s Award in the Arts and in the 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. Nikki has been given the keys to more than two dozen cities, including New York City, Los Angeles, Dallas, Miami, New Orleans, and Baltimore. The author of more than thirty books for adults and children, including the seminal Black Feeling Black Talk/Black Judgment, Nikki is University Distinguished Professor/English at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia. She continues to read her work all across the country.


Make Me Rain

Kiese Laymon

About Presenter Kiese Laymon


Born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi, Kiese Laymon, Ottilie Schillig Professor in English and Creative Writing at the University of Mississippi, is the author of the novel Long Division and the memoir Heavy. His revised essay collection How To Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America will be released from Scribner on November 10, 2020.



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