The emotional woman, the heartbroken girl, the damsel in distress that must be saved – women are deeply emotional creatures… or at least that’s how we are portrayed through most pop culture media outlets. How do we get through an extremely trying time in our lives? We cry. How do we deal with grief and loss? We cry. Twelve years ago, Nikki Giovanni had every reason to cry after losing her mother and her sister in a span of just four weeks. She was 62 at the time and in an interview with The Root she said that when her mother and sister died, she had no time to cry, she was too busy.
“If you looked at movies or on television, you’d think women cried all the time,” Giovanni says.
“But we don’t, because we always have a lot to do. There was a lot going on,” she continues. “There was nobody to handle things but me. So there was no question of, you know, are you going to sit down and cry and go through this. The thing is, you had things to do. You had people to bury, you had things to take care of.”
But now, 12 years later, Nikki Giovanni is expressing her grief in her new poetry collection – the 27th she’s written – entitled “A Good Cry, what we learn from tears and laughter.” While Giovanni has been writing poetry since the 1960’s this collection is personal on a level we haven’t seen before from her. She explores the loss of her mother and sister with her work and uses her poetry to release some of the pain she had been harboring since their deaths.
Giovanni not only expresses the pain of losing her mother, but also delves into her childhood experiences of the abuse that her mother suffered from her own father. While the poetry collection focuses on the things that cause us to be sad and in pain, it also rejoices in the celebration of what it means to be alive.