Poet Nikky Finney discusses how her sense of social justice was informed by her father, the first African American Chief Justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court, revealing how growing up in the political household shaped her art. She reads a poetic tribute to her father from her second book, Rice, as well as her long, piercing poem “Dancing with Strom” from her fourth collection, the National Book Award-winning Head Off and Split. The editor of the Cave Canem anthology, The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South, she is now the author of the 2020 collection Love Child’s Hotbed of Occasional Poetry: Poems and Artifacts. The first half of this interview focusing on her literary influences is also available in our audio archives.
(Photo by Forrest Clonts)