Nikky Finney

University of South Carolina
Humanities and Arts
Member Since

When Nikki Finney won the National Book Award for her fourth book of poetry, Head Off and Split (2011), her acceptance speech—invoking the arc that stretched from the time when Blacks were prohibited from reading and writing to the moment of her award—was so compelling that host and Academy member John Lithgow declared that “it was the best acceptance speech for anything that he had ever heard in his life.” Finney’s speech was a reflection of her poetry: moving and brimming with the poignancy of black culture.  Hers is a voice needed in the Academy.

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