Nikky Finney

NIKKY FINNEY’s National Book Award winning collection Head Off & Split, gets its title from a fishmonger’s term she heard as a child.  Returning to the same fishmonger as an adult and hearing the phrase hurtled her back into memories of childhood.  In the introduction to the collection, she describes realizing that she does not want the fish to be cleaned (head off & split), but “wants what she has come for kept whole, all marrow and every organ accounted for, just as it was pulled from the sea.” This became the central wish behind all the poems in the collection.  Nikky Finney has written four books of poetry: Head Off & Split (2011), which was awarded the 2011 National Book Award for Poetry; The World Is Round (2003); Rice (1995); and On Wings Made of Gauze (1985).  She also wrote a collection of short stories, Heartwood (1997), edited The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South (2007), and co- founded the Affrilachian Poets. 


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Reading and Conversation
Henri Cole, Nicky Beer, Nikky Finney
Victoria Theatre

Conversation: Crossing Boundaries
Dan Bellm, Eavan Boland, Nikky Finney, Benjamin Alire Sáenz
First Peddie Baptist Memorial Church 

Richard Blanco, Eavan Boland, Henri Cole, Sharon Dolin, Nikky Finney, Terrance Hayes, Juan Felipe Herrera, Jane Hirshfield, Fanny Howe, Kurtis Lamkin, Dorianne Laux, Ada Limón, Thomas Lux, Rachel McKibbens, Taylor Mali, Joseph Millar, Idra Novey, Gregory Orr, Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Patricia Smith, Arthur Sze, Larissa Szporluk, Natasha Trethewey, C.K. Williams, Raúl Zurita
Prudential Hall


Festival Poet Readings
Brian Barker, Henri Cole, Sharon Dolin, Nikky Finney, John Murillo
Victoria Theatre

Conversation: Who Is It Can Tell Me Who I Am: Poetry and Identity
Eavan Boland, Nikky Finney, Juan Felipe Herrera, Arthur Sze
First Peddie Baptist Memorial Church

Conversation: For Lack of What Is Found There: Poetry and Survival
Nikky Finney, Dorianne Laux, Gregory Orr, Raúl Zurita and Translator
Prudential Hall


Conversation: Poetry and Pride
Dan Bellm, Henri Cole, Nikky Finney, Timothy Liu
Victoria Theatre

Conversation: Where Poetry Matters
Nikky Finney, Joseph Millar, Idra Novey, Gregory Orr
First Peddie Baptist Memorial Church

Readings & Music
Nikky Finney, Henri Cole, Dorianne Laux, C. K. Williams, Patricia Smith, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra Quartet
Prudential Hall


Conversation: On Craft
Nikky Finney
Newark Museum

Giving Voice to Lucille Clifton
Nikky Finney, Natasha Trethewey, Clifton's Daughters
Chase Room

Conversation: When Politics Is Personal
Nikky Finney, Juan Felipe Herrera, Fanny Howe, Raúl Zurita
Victoria Theatre