• Elina Arbo


Want to relive falling in love for the first time?

Love Poems written by Nikki Giovanni creates an aura of romance so strong that it leaves you with a warm fuzzy feeling lasting for days. She presents love to her readers in the most simple, and also most unconventional ways. These poems can be cheesy, oftentimes making your face feel hot. They’re also very elaborate and stylistically complex, outside of the box.

I first read Giovanni’s work when I was 15. I recall my mother taking me to a library outside of our city where the collection of books was large and diverse. She applied for a new library card as I scrambled around to find books. Making my way into the poetry section, I stumbled upon My House and quickly snatched it off the bookshelf. On our drive to downtown Royal Oak, Michigan, I flipped through the pages and learned the power of poetry. We sat and ate ice cream, but all I could focus on were Giovanni's hypnotic words.

She was my entryway into the genre. Her verses mesmerized me then and still do now.

Love Poems is split into three different parts. From the very first page, readers are introduced by an extremely beautiful, hopeful poem that sets a precedent for the entire book. I remember reading its lines and feeling every word right inside of my heart. I had to put the book down for a second to recollect myself and reflect before moving on. It felt as if Giovanni reached into my soul that very moment and splattered my feelings onto the page.

She captures the feeling of being in love so perfectly.

Each poem has a personality of its own. Every poem is a new person with a new perspective, a different way of thinking about love. There are so many quirks and unique features to people just as there are to poems; Giovanni personifies love so well. She proves its beauty even through not-so-pretty things:

“ever been kidnapped

by a poet

if i were a poet

i’d kidnap you

put you in my phrases and meter

you to jones beach

or maybe coney island

or maybe just to my house

lyric you in lilacs

dash you in the rain”

Giovanni does not spend any time discussing the perils of love. She does, however, reflect on the love of a friend, which she fails to return. She points out nuances in relationships. She shares with us the love for her mother, for Langston Hughes, and Tupac Shakur. The love for activism and community. She is very specific at identifying that love, its immense power outweighing any negatives we may associate with it.

Her philosophy and perspective are deep. Her use of literary elements is extensive. Giovanni’s work is chicken soup for the soul, but also acts as lessons for the aspiring poet. There is so much to absorb from every single one of her stanzas. There are multiple layers to each individual poem. Giovanni’s approach is versatile, explaining love in all of our languages. She gives us many opportunities to relate to our perspectives but also gifts us with chances to learn more about the different quirks of love we tend to overlook.

©2020 by ~quarantine content~.