Skip to content Skip to navigation

Stanford Community Hour - Allyson Hobbs

Poet and professor Nikky Finney (pictured) joined Allyson Hobbs' Community Hour to talk about poetry as well as the strength needed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

(Photo: Wofford College)

Allyson Hobbs, associate professor of American history and director of African and African American Studies, hosts the Stanford Community Hour, during which she provides a space for reflection and meditation amid uncertain times, inviting experts from a variety of disciplines to share their work with the Stanford community. 

Past guests have included Michael Tubbs ’12, mayor of Stockton, California, and future guests include Nicole Fleetwood, author of “Making Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration” (2020) and professor of American studies and art history at Rutgers. On May 10, Nikky Finney joined Community Hour for a conversation on poetry.

Finney, a poet and scholar, is the John H. Bennett, Jr. Chair in Creative Writing and Letters and Southern Letters at the University of South Carolina. A recipient of the 2011 National Book Award for her collection “Head Off and Split” (2011), she has also authored “The World Is Round” (2003), “Rice” (1995) and “On Wings Made of Gauze” (1985). 

Finney began by sharing her first experiences with poetry. A poet from a young age, she wrote poems for various occasions in her community, akin to the ancient Greek tradition of occasional poetry. Finney shared that inspiration for her poems begins with history. As a poet, she seeks to “not leave [the reader] where I found you,” and to “explore and implore.”