May 25, 2024

National Book Award winning writer delivers poetry with diverse themes

UT’s Writers in the Library series continued on April 4 with National Book Award winner Nikky Finney.

//Photo by Tiara Holt

Author Nikky Finney read several of her poetic works for UT’s continuing Writers in the Library series Monday, April 4 in the Hodges Library Auditorium. She is the author of five books, including the 2011 National Book Award winner “Head Off & Split.”

Finney discussed her love of writing along with other driving factors that influenced her work such as race, love, social justice and family.

She also shared some of the wisdom she gained in her younger years that inspired her to continue with her poetry.

“If you believe in something with all your heart, never let anybody tell you differently,” Finney said.

Though she works primarily with the written word, Finney expressed an appreciation for the more visual parts of art as well.

“I love the visual. I love things that enhance the visual in my life. Either a camera in my hand, or a paintbrush, or a pencil,” Finney said. “When come to do this, to share what I’ve been working on hunchbacked over at my desk, I want it to be clear what I am saying, so the visual is very important.”

Sophomore Quran Muhammad looked forward to the event after hearing about it from a poetry class.

“We read one of her books, and my professor told us about it last semester.” Muhammad said. “I’ve read most of her book, and I liked hearing her read ‘Left’ because it was one of my favorites. It’s always interesting to hear people read in person and put a face to the words.”

Finney also read poems titled “Falling Epigraph” which was inspired by seeing television footage of Hurricane Katrina and “Men who Give Milk” that focused on male lactation.

For more information about Nikky Finney and her works, click here.

The next Writers in the Library event will feature Leslie LaChance and Adam Day on Monday, April 11 at 7 p.m. in the Lindsay Young Auditorium at the Hodges Library.

Featured image by Tiara Holt

Edited by Taylor Owens

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Tiara Holt is a senior at the University of Tennessee majoring in Journalism and Electronic Media with a minor in Cinema Studies. Aside from being a rock music enthusiast and food lover, her pastimes include drawing, painting, reading and watching The X-Files.