Xanadu Poetry

Student Poetry

Featured Student Poet 


Jaden Lantier Stark


oh child, with her big blue eyes, cradling

the whole ocean.

watch her swim in dark navy,

float on her back, watch her pudgy

blue belly surface and then sink back


she’d rather it sink—the blue hides it


but she drowned years ago.


…that woman murdered her.

skinned and stuffed out her motherly


gouged out those blue eyes—stole them.

their innocence has brought her pleasure.

she forgot that swimming could

be fun.

especially when every shade of

blue blends together, and it’s

nearly impossible to tell up

from down.

with him— ever again.

Luis Villatoro

By  Luis Villatoro

Poet of the Month


   Nikki Giovanni

     Nikki Giovanni is one of America’s foremost poets. Over the course of a long career, Giovanni has published numerous collections of poetry—from her first self-published volume Black Feeling Black Talk (1968) to New York Times best-seller Bicycles: Love Poems (2009)—several works of nonfiction and children’s literature, and multiple recordings, including the Emmy-award nominated The Nikki Giovanni Poetry Collection (2004). Her most recent publications include Make Me Rain: Poems and Prose (2020), Chasing Utopia: A Hybrid (2013) and, as editor, The 100 Best African American Poems (2010). A frequent lecturer and reader, Giovanni has taught at Rutgers University, Ohio State University, and Virginia Tech, where she is a University Distinguished Professor.


      Born Yolande Cornelia Giovanni. Jr, in Knoxville, Tennessee, Giovanni was the younger of two daughters in a close-knit family. She gained an intense appreciation for African American culture and heritage from her grandmother, explaining in an interview, “I come from a long line of storytellers.” This early exposure to the power of spoken language influenced Giovanni’s career as a poet, particularly her sophisticated use of vernacular speech. When Giovanni was a young child, she moved with her parents from Knoxville to a predominantly black suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio but remained close to her grandmother. Giovanni was encouraged by several schoolteachers and enrolled early at Fisk University, a prestigious HBCU (historically Black college or university) in Nashville, Tennessee. A literary and cultural renaissance was emerging at Fisk, as writers and other artists of color collaborated in cultural projects that explored and delineated the possibilities of Black identity. In addition to serving as editor of the campus literary magazine and participating in the Fisk Writers Workshop, Giovanni worked to restore the Fisk chapter of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Giovanni graduated with a B.A. in history in 1968 and went on to attend graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University in New York.


BLK History Month

If Black History Month is not

viable then wind does not

carry the seeds and drop them

on fertile ground

rain does not

dampen the land

and encourage the seeds

to root

sun does not

warm the earth

and kiss the seedlings

and tell them plain:

You’re As Good As Anybody Else

You’ve Got A Place Here, Too




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Sarah Daniels

By Sarah Daniels