Monday, June 27, 2011

Nikky Finney

Afaa Weaver and Nikky Finney

This past Saturday, I had the great pleasure of hearing Nikky Finney read her brilliant work at Lesley University. If you've not read her poems, they will blow you away. Her unflinching eye and attention to detail resonates both on the page and before an audience of eager listeners, as I experienced before a full crowd.

Nikky's latest book is Head Off & Split (read the cover story on her in the March/April issue of Poets & Writers). Her skillful use of form enhances her subject matter, which ranges from family stories, pre- and post-civil right movement, to poems on current political figures, to very personal, intimate poems that are just fearless. The variety of topics and the way she moves a poem forward is exactly what I hope to model in my own work.

I had the great pleasure of speaking with her for a few minutes at the afterparty (where this iPhone photo was taken). I told her about my second manuscipt, which I'm revising, as well as new projects on the back burner. Her words about the influence of others on a writer's work I will take with me as I make my way though the revision process. I needed those words at that particular moment. What a gift!

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