Last night at the closing of the AWP, I listened to Nikky Finney read several of her poems, a few from her National Book Award winning collection, Head Off & Split. It was my first time hearing her in person and while I listened to her, I wanted to keep leaning in and listening.
When Professor Finney signed my copy of her collection, she asked if I was a writer, if I lived in Chicago. I told her yes to both, and saying yes, in the company of a woman, writer, communicator, and advocate so powerful was its own affirmation. If you don’t know her work, it can offer you life and renewal and fullness. Really, I wouldn’t suggest that you linger over her careful words unless they’d be worth it.