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SLCC, Westminster Host Celebrated Poet, Activist Nikki Giovanni

Keynote speech kicks off a month of Martin Luther King Jr. events

Nikki Giovanni

Salt Lake Community College and Westminster College welcome celebrated poet, writer, activist and educator Nikki Giovanni to SLCC’s Grand Theatre on Thursday, Jan. 18, at 7 p.m., as the 2018 Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Keynote speaker. The ticketed event is free and open to the public. Seats may be reserved online at

Giovanni will read from her latest works, then be joined by SLCC Poet Laureate, Lisa Bickmore for a follow-up conversation. This special event is part of each institution’s 2018 Martin Luther King Jr. celebration and the Bastian Foundation Diversity Lecture Series hosted by Westminster College. Westminster and SLCC partnered to bring Giovanni, one of the most prominent American poets, to Utah – making her inspiring words and presence available to the community.

Giovanni has been dubbed the “princess of black poetry,” a “national treasure” and one of Oprah’s 25 Living Legends. Her poetry is both edgy and accessible. She writes about race, violence, family, grief, love and friends with informal beauty that’s been embraced by multiple generations. At 74, she recommends old age: “it’s fun.” Giovanni is a university distinguished professor at Virginia Tech. She has written and edited numerous books of poetry and works for children.

Giovanni was born in Knoxville, Tenn., and grew up in Lincoln Heights, an all-black suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio. She graduated with honors from Fisk University in 1968, after which she attended the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University. She published her first book of poetry, “Black Feeling Black Talk,” in 1968, and within the next year published a second book, thus launching her career as a writer. Her latest book is “Bicycles: Love Poems(William Morrow). She has 25 honorary degrees, seven NAACP Image Awards and has been nominated for a Grammy, been a finalist for the National Book Award and authored three New York Times and Los Angeles Times best sellers. 

Poet Nikki Giovanni
A Bastian Foundation Lecture Series Presented by Westminster College in partnership with SLCC

SLCC Grand Theatre
1575 South State
Salt Lake City, Utah

January 18, 2018
7–8 p.m.

Free, reserve seats online at

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