Nikki Giovanni was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, on June 7th. She is among the nation's most celebrated and controversial poets. Her poetry has been called intimate, edgy, and unapologetic. Giovanni received her bachelor's degree from Fisk University as well as numerous honorary degrees. She published her first collection of poems, Black Feeling, Black Talk in 1968.
The birth of her son inspired her to write poetry for black children. The Genie in a Jar, illustrated by Chris Raschka, and The Sun is So Quiet, illustrated by Ashley Bryan, are some of her latest works for children. She is the recipient of an NAACP Image Award, the Langston Hughes Medal for Outstanding Poetry, and has been named woman of the year by Mademoiselle, Ladies''Home Journal, and Essence magazines. She is presently a professor of English at Virginia Tech. "The authority of the writer always overcomes the skepticism of the reader. If you know what you are talking about, or if you feel that you do, the reader will believe you."