Nikki Giovanni, a University Distinguished Professor of English in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences at Virginia Tech, has been nominated for a Spoken Word GRAMMY.

The self-narrated CD is titled "The Nikki Giovanni Poetry Collection" and is recorded by Caedmon. The 46th GRAMMY Awards will be held on Sunday, Feb. 8, 2004, at Staples Center in Los Angeles and will again be broadcast in High Definition TV and 5.1 Surround Sound on CBS from 8-11:30 p.m. on the East and West Coasts.

A GRAMMY is awarded by the Recording Academy's voting membership to honor excellence in the recording arts and sciences. It is truly a peer honor, awarded by and to artists and technical professionals for artistic or technical achievement, not sales or chart positions. The annual GRAMMY Awards presentation brings together thousands of creative and technical professionals in the recording industry from all over the world.

Other nominees in the Spoken Word category include Don Cheadle for the reading of "Fear Itself" by Walter Mosley; "Lies And The Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair And Balanced Look At The Right" authored and read by Al Franken; "Living History" by Hillary Rodham Clinton; and Bill Maher's "When You Ride Alone You Ride With Bin Laden."

Giovanni was "surprised and thrilled" with the nomination. While this is her first GRAMMY nomination, Giovanni is no stranger to record industry accolades. Her first recorded piece, titled "Truth Is On Its Way," was a gold album and could have won a GRAMMY -- but there was no spoken word category then.

A review of Giovanni's work from audiofilemagazine.com, says, "Nikki Giovanni blends the personal with the political in this engaging collection of poems written over 40 years, from the 1960s through 2002. They are poems that make one laugh and make one think. 'Train Rides' celebrates the care received as a child from Pullman porters when she rode the train alone and sorrows over the generation of proud black men now in jail instead of on the job. 'Hands: For Mother's Day' applauds the comfort and care offered by women's hands while prodding conventional wisdom … Throughout, Giovanni shares thought-provoking stories about what led to the poems."

Giovanni's poems first emerged during the Civil Rights, Black Power and Black Arts Movements in the 1960s and she immediately took a place among the most celebrated and influential poets of the era. Today, she is one of the most commanding, luminous voices to grace America's political and poetic landscape.

Poet, activist, mother and professor Nikki Giovanni attended Fisk University, the University of Pennsylvania's School of Social Work and Columbia University's School of Fine Arts. She has received 19 honorary degrees from colleges and universities. Her numerous awards include Woman of the Year for Ebony, Mademoiselle, Essence, and Ladies Home Journal magazines; Outstanding Woman of Tennessee Award; Ohio Women's Hall of Fame induction; McDonald's Literary Achievement Award for Poetry presented in the name of Nikki Giovanni in perpetuity; Outstanding Humanitarian Award, The House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Kentucky; two Tennessee Governor's Award in the Arts and in the Humanities; the Virginia Governor's Award; and three NAACP Image Awards for "Love Poems; Blues: For All the Changes"; and "Quilting the Black-Eyed Pea." Giovanni has been given the keys to more than a dozen cities, including New York City, Los Angeles, Dallas, Miami, New Orleans, and Baltimore. Most recently, she was named the first recipient of the Rosa Parks Woman of Courage Award.

Nikki Giovanni is the author of 16 books of poetry for adults and children including the seminal Black Feeling, Black Talk/Black Judgement, Re: Creation, My House, The Women and the Men, Those Who Ride the Night Winds, The Selected Poems of Nikki Giovanni, Love Poems, Blues: For All the Changes and her most recent unabridged, annotated book - The Collected Poetry of Nikki Giovanni: 1968-98.

"Nikki Giovanni has perceptively recorded her observations of both the outside world and the gentle yet enigmatic territory of the self,” notes amazon.com. "Nikki Giovanni's poems embody the fearless passion and spirited wit for which she is beloved and revered. From the sublime "Ego Tripping" to the tender "My House," Nikki Giovanni's mind-speaking, truth-telling poems compassionately evoke our nation's past, present, and future."