Frank X Walker Frank X Walker: 2013 Writer-in-Residence

2015 schedule of events

Friday, October 2

5:00 p.m. “After Obama: An Assessment of Post-Obama America and the Racial Divide,” Panel Discussion among African Americans in the community, Robert C. Byrd Center for Legislative Studies.

7:00 p.m. Screening of Angela Bassett in The Rosa Parks Story, Shepherdstown Film Society, discussion to follow in Reynolds Hall with Dr. Julia Sandy.

Monday, Ocotober 5

7:00 p.m. “Civil Rights, Human Rights” Lecture/Discussion with Dr. Julia Sandy, Robert C. Byrd Center for Legislative Studies

Tuesday, October 6

7:00 p.m. “A Celebration of Appalachian Storytellers and a Musical Interlude by Kaziah White on the Poetry of Frank X Walker, ‘Ambiguity over the Confederate Flag’: The Anthology of Appalachian Writers, Homer Hickam Volume VII,” Robert C. Byrd Center for Legislative Studies, the event sponsored by The WV Center for the Book and The Shepherd University Foundation; Anthology Reception following the event, Scarborough Library Reading Room

Wednesday, October 7

9:30 a.m. Visit with Martinsburg, Jefferson, and Berkeley Springs students at Martinsburg High School.

11:00 a.m. Nikki Giovanni Reading at Martinsburg Public Library and Reception.

7:00 p.m. "The Writing Life, with Nikki Giovanni," Robert C. Byrd Center for Legislative Studies (Giovanni discusses her work, the writing process, her journey toward authorship and publication)

Thursday, October 8

Noon Lunch with Senior Moments Book Club

3:00-4:30 p.m. Writers Master Class, Robert C. Byrd Center for Legislative Studies

8:00 p.m. Scarborough Society Lecture and Awards Ceremony at Erma Ora Byrd Hall (Nikki Giovanni receives the Appalachian Heritage Writer's Award and presents her Scarborough keynote address, “Chasing Appalachia, Looking for Home,” followed by reception and book signing. The WV Fiction Competition awards will be presented by Giovanni.

Friday, October 9

7:00 p.m. Old-time Stories from Appalachia with Ballad Singer and Storyteller Sheila Kay Adams, Robert C. Byrd Center for Legislative Studies 8:00 p.m. Appalachian Square Dance, King Street.

Saturday, October 10

Appalachian Heritage day-long Festival and 8:00 p.m. Concert. at Frank Theater.

Racism 101

In Racism 101, Nikki Giovanni indicts higher education for the inequities it perpetuates, contemplates the legacy of the 1960s, provides a survival guide for black students on predominantly white campuses (complete with razor-sharp comebacks to the dumb questions constantly asked of black students), and excoriates Spike Lee while offering her own ideas for a film about Malcolm X. And that's just for starters. She also writes about W.E.B. Du Bois, gardening, Toni Morrison, Star Trek, affirmative action, President John F. Kennedy, the role of griots, and the rape and neglect of urban schools. Profoundly personal and blisteringly political, angry and funny, lyrical and blunt, Racism 101 will add an important chapter to the debate on American national values.


Fifty years after her refusal to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama, city bus, Mrs. Rosa Parks is still one of the most important figures in the American civil rights movement. This tribute to Mrs. Parks is a celebration of her courageous action and the events that followed. Award-winning poet, writer, and activist Nikki Giovanni’s evocative text combines with Bryan Collier’s striking cut-paper images to retell the story of this historic event from a wholly unique and original perspective.

Bicycles: Love Poems

In a career that has earned her accolades, honorary degrees, and awards from both fellow poets and everyday poetry lovers, Nikki Giovanni has established herself as a writer who can entertain and challenge, inform and inspire. Sometimes controversial, sometimes ethereal, but always beautiful, her poems move readers of all hues and generations. With Bicycles, she's collected poems that serve as a companion to her 1997 Love Poems. An instant classic, that book—romantic, bold, and erotic—expressed notions of love in ways that were delightfully unexpected. In the years that followed, Giovanni experienced losses both public and private: a mother's passing, a sister's too, and a massacre on the campus where she teaches. Yet just when it seemed life was spinning out of control, Giovanni rediscovered love—what she calls the antidote. Here romantic love—and all its manifestations, the physical touch, the emotional pull, the hungry heart—is distilled as never before by one of our most talented poets.

A Dialogue


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.

Chasing Utopia: A Hybrid

The poetry of Nikki Giovanni has spurred movements and inspired songs, turned hearts and informed generations. She’s been hailed as a healer and a national treasure. But if her reputation is writ large upon the national stage, her heart resides in the everyday where family and lovers gather, friends commune, and those no longer with us are remembered.

Acolytes: Poems

A collection of eighty all new poems, Acolytes is distinctly Nikki Giovanni, but different. Not softened, but more inspired by love, celebration, memories and even nostalgia. She aims her intimate and sparing words at family and friends, the deaths of heroes and friends, favorite meals and candy, nature, libraries, and theatre. But in between, the deep and edgy conscience that has defined her for decades shines through when she writes about Rosa Parks, hurricane Katrina, and Emmett Till's disappearance, leaving no doubt that Nikki has not traded one approach for another, but simply made room for both.

Quilting the Black-Eyed Pea: Poems and Not Quite Poems

Quilting the Black-Eyed Pea is a tour de force from Nikki Giovanni, one of the most powerful voices in American poetry and African American literature today. From Black Feeling, Black Talk and Black Judgment in the 1960s to Bicycles in 2010, Giovanni’s poetry has influenced literary figures from James Baldwin to Blackalicious, and touched millions of readers worldwide. In Quilting the Black-Eyed Pea, Giovanni turns her gaze toward the state of the world around her, and offers a daring, resonant look inside her own self as well.

The Collected Poetry of Nikki Giovanni

This omnibus covers Nikki Giovanni's complete work of poetry from 1967–1983. THE COLLECTED POETRY OF NIKKI GIOVANNI will include the complete volumes of five adult books of poetry: Black Feeling Black Talk/Black Judgement, My House, The Women and the Men, Cotton Candy on a Rainy Day, and Those Who Ride the Night Winds.