November 23, 14
In the poem, “Love in a Place”, it seems as if the author, Nikki Giovanni questions her experience of love. She uses an almost humorous approach to this question that she has for herself. To me, it seems as if she is speaking to herself about a time long gone. She speaks to her young self and tries to question whether she was ever in love. It also seems as if she could also be speaking to an old lover. I got this clue from her sentence “but what I mostly see is me through your eyes…” It seems as if she is reminiscing about an relationship where she thought she was in love and cant seem to decide whether it was in fact, love
Giovanni starts off the poem talking about how she doesn’t really remember falling in love all that much. She mentions how before this relationship, she was more into making corn bread, boiling ham, and making lemon pies. She mentions how she used to smoke and in the middle of the day, she would stop and smoke while thinking about her life. She tries to show the reader that it was just a normal day for her. Her life consisted of a baking and doing things to pass the time.
Giovanni goes on to give us some symbols of what we believe happens in love. For example, she talks about how she quit biting her cuticles. To me, this said that maybe she was anxious before and because she met this man, she was actually happy and not anxious or nervous anymore – which is why she stops biting her cuticles. Or maybe because she had this new love interest, she was actually taking care of herself and her appearance more. Now, she actually cared about what she looked like and she made a change in her appearance. I can certainly relate to that. I remember when I first started dating my now husband. I was always looking my best. My hair was always neatly done, my nails were always painted and pretty, I had my pedicures on schedule and I dressed my best. To me, that’s completely normal when you are in a new relationship or even in love. Your goal at that time is to impress this new person that you are so fond of. So when Giovanni mentions stopping the habit of biting her nails, it tells me that she is making a conscious effort to change for her new love interest.
Giovanni also talks about finding a great appreciation for Jazz singers, Billy Holiday and Billy Strayhorn. Jazz is also known as a sweet music of love. Bill Holiday was known to be an emotional singer. For Giovanni to say that she started listening to Jazz tells me that she found an emotional side to her and liked it. She listened to the sweet romantic songs that these singers created. This also gave me a clue that maybe now that Giovanni was in love, she was doing more than just listening to the words of the songs. She was really understanding and appreciating the words on a much deeper level. She was connecting her feelings to the songs. This is such a common act when it comes to poems or songs. Songs are written for the listener to be able to connect to the singer and his or her words. When we are in love or even during heartbreak, we can always find a song that feels like it was written just for us. I have found many songs over the years to help me cope with broken relationships or even new relationships and the feeling of a new romance.
Giovanni also mentions old photographs. She uses imagery to show us how she is happy and smiling in her pictures. While reading this poem, I imagined a slim girl, wide eyed, with a beautiful smile. She tells us that maybe her happiness is due to her falling in love. What really sparks my interest is Giovanni saying, “but…