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NPR Arts & Life

The Poetry Of Music For "Every Lover Who Ever Loved"

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

And as you just heard, Nikki Giovanni has inspired many people with her poetry and other writings. So we decided to turn the tables and ask what inspires her. As part of our occasional series In Your Ear, Nikki Giovanni shares the music that moves her.

NIKKI GIOVANNI: Hi, this is Nikki Giovanni. I'm a poet. And I'm listening to Jane Monheit, "Save Your Love For Me."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SAVE YOUR LOVE FOR ME")

GIOVANNI: It's an old blues song. And I think every lover who ever loved wishes that their lover would save it. We understand why they go out, but there are some times that you just need to come home.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SAVE YOUR LOVE FOR ME")

GIOVANNI: The second song that I always play is George Cables, "Helen's Song." George is a pianist and he did an album for his wife, who has passed now, because one day he was looking at football all day long and she was being nice about it. And finally, he said, well, can I do something to help you? And she said you should write me a song. "Helen's Song" is just really beautiful.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HELEN'S SONG")

GIOVANNI: The third song that I absolutely love so much is by Bonnie Raitt. Bonnie, of course, did that wonderful "Nick of Time."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "NICK OF TIME")

GIOVANNI: And I think all the old ladies, all of us who have fallen in love, we understand "Nick of Time" because you get to the point that you say, well, there isn't anybody that is really there for me. And there it is.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "NICK OF TIME")

MARTIN: That was award-winning poet, author and professor Nikki Giovanni telling us what's playing in her ear. To hear our previous conversation with her, you can go to NPR.org, click on the programs tab and then TELL ME MORE. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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