Cotton Candy on a Rainy Day

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9780688083656: Cotton Candy on a Rainy Day

A pivotal work in Nikki Giovanni's career, Cotton Candy on a Rainy Day is one of the most poignant and intorspective of all Giovanni's collections. Moving from the emotionally fraught political arena to the intimate realm of the personal, the poems in this volume express a conflicted consciousness and the disillusionment shared by so many during the early 1970s, when the dreams of the Civil Rights era seemed to have evaporated. First published in 1978, this classic will remind her readers why they were first drawn to Nikki Giovanni and enthrall new readers who are just now coming to these timeless poems.

As a witness to three generations, Nikki Giovanni has perceptively and poetically recorded her observations of both the outside world and the gentle yet enigmatic territory of the self. When her poems first emerged from the Black Rights Movement in the late 1960s, she immediately became a celebrated and controversial poet of the era. Written in one of the most commanding voices to grace America'ss political and poetic landscape at the end of the twentieth century, Nikki Giovanni's poems embody the fearless passion and spirited wit for which she is beloved and revered.

A pivotal work in Nikki Giovanni's career, Cotton Candy on a Rainy Day is one of the most poignant and introspective of all Giovanni's collections. Moving from the emotionally fraught political arena to the intimate realm of the personal, the poems in this volume express a conflicted consciousness and the disillusionment shared by so many during the early 1970s, when the dreams of the Civil Rights era seemed to have evaporated. First published in l978, this classic will remind her readers why they were first drawn to Nikki Giovanni and enthrall new readers who are just now coming to these timeless poems.

As a witness to three generations, Nikki Giovanni has perceptively and poetically recorded her observations of both the outside world and the gentle yet enigmatic territory of the self. When her poems first emerged from the Black Rights Movement in the late 1960s, she immediately became a celebrated and controversial poet of the era. Written in one of themost commanding voices to grace America's political and poetic landscape at the end of the twentieth century, Nikki Giovanni's poems embody the fearless passion and spirited wit for which she is beloved and revered.

"Nikki Giovanni is one of our national treasures. For decades she has offered her wit and wisdom, her bruising honesty, and, above all, her unbounded love through these poems as a healing for herself, her community, and her country." --Gloria Naylor

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About the Author:

Poet, activist, mother, and professor, Nikki Giovanni is a three-time NAACP Image Award winner and the first recipient of the Rosa Parks Woman of Courage Award, and holds the Langston Hughes Medal for Outstanding Poetry, among other honors. The author of twenty-seven books and a Grammy nominee for The Nikki Giovanni Poetry Collection, she is the University Distinguished Professor/English at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia, and an Oprah Living Legend.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

The Winter Stormsomewhee there was a piano playing
but not in the bar
where she was sitting

somewhere across the candlelights
like a ship threading its way
through the morning fog
two people were surely moving
toward completion

she knew she had feelings that were unfulfilled

there must certainly be a revolution
somewhere
but she couldn't see it
the idea of fulfillment baffled her

most assuredly she remembered

the sheets were clean
and he was tender
it was an accident
that rush of red wine starting with her toes
she had always hated people
who had to talk and instruct
or give indiscreet encouragement
she had laughed and laughed
what a marvelous thing you hav discovered
she told him

she looked to see if anyone was happy
in the bar in which she was sitting
how many aeons had it been
how many men
enough to make her secure
in her desirability
too many to allow herself to say
she loved them all
remembering the names was the hardest
though she always retained the ability
to rate them
what indeed mad sex
so fascinating to everyone
at best it's a tooth in a pain
that rubbing the gums will ease
at worst it's a desire denied
like the eyes closing
to the evening's sunset

she looked and crossed her support-hosed legs
in the bar with the music just out of reach

one always remembers passion
whether fantasy or fact
that rush of pure glandular energy
what really did she feel

she straightened her gray flannel panel skirt
pulling her gray sild blouse tight against her breasts
rubbing her left arm with the square gold band
against the chill that settled on the right
she looked around at the lonely faces
in the bar without the music

what made people interested
in other people
in whom they have no interest
but yes she recalled
as the drink was served
there is an energy crisis that's why
i'm having this drink
amid a raging storm outside
there is one inside too
and spring will not lessen
its ferocity

unconsciously as black women
are wont to do
she hummed a tune and patted her foot
to the gospel beat
the tips of the black pumps were a grayish white
the ice and salt having taken
their measure

she examined her nails
noting the cuticles needed trimming
a dim reflection from the mirror on the wall
showed her the face and form of a coward
life      she justified     is not heroic
but survival

tonight through the storm
she would sit in a bar
with only the music in her head

in the moring

for sure

she would go
home

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