Nikky Finney, winner of The Sewanee Review’s 2020 Aiken Taylor Award for Modern American Poetry, talks about her development as a poet and her early literary influences–from Nikki Giovanni to the Affrilachian poets, and reads from her 1985 first book On Wings Made of Gauze and her 2011 National Book Award-winning collection, Head Off and Split. Finney’s 2020 book, Love Child’s Hotbed of Occasional Poetry: Poems and Artifacts was released in April. This is the first part of a 2019 interview recorded after her appearance at Rockhurst University’s Midwest Poets Series. The second half of this interview is also available in our audio archives.
(Photo by Forrest Clonts)