Nikki Giovanni Celebration of Poetry 2021
(Event video is embedded below.)
March 23, 2021
Each spring, the Virginia Tech Department of English hosts a festive tribute to Giovanni-Steger Poetry Prize winners — and poetry itself — through the Nikki Giovanni Celebration of Poetry.
Nikki Giovanni, the University Distinguished Professor of English, established the poetry competition for Virginia Tech undergraduates and named it for its first benefactor, Charles W. Steger, the university’s president at the time.
In 2017, Steger turned the tables on the renowned poet when he and the organizers declared the event the annual “Nikki Giovanni Celebration of Poetry.” In 2020, the award itself was renamed the Giovanni-Steger Poetry Prize.
This year, the event was virtual, allowing the celebration to have an unprecedented reach online. The ceremony was live broadcast from the Moss Arts Center on March 23 at 5 p.m. All ten finalists received recognition in advance of the naming of the top three winners.
Since its founding in 2005, the Giovanni-Steger Poetry Prize has been one of the most prestigious undergraduate literary prizes in the country. The contest is open to all undergraduates regardless of major.
The annual award is supported by a generous donation from Donna and Dennis Treacy ’78.
To view the ceremony, visit https://youtu.be/jT2iCMQK1kk.
The Nikki Giovanni Celebration of Poetry that was scheduled for March 2020 needed to be cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, Giovanni read the winning poems in the video embedded in this wrap-up story.