Skip to Content

College of Arts & Sciences
Department of English Language and Literature


Danish scholar to give talk on the work of Nikky Finney

Jan Nordby Gretlund, Senior Lecturer at the Center for American Studies, University of Southern Denmark, will talk on the poetry works of Nikky Finney.

Nikky Finney, John H. Bennett, Jr. Endowed Professor of Creative Writing and Southern Letters in the USC English department, is the subject of a talk that will be given by Jan Nordby Gretlund, Senior Lecturer at the Center for American Studies, University of Southern Denmark, on Wednesday, November 5, 2014 - 4:00pm to 5:30pm, LeConte 310.

Nikky Finney learned, early on, that “writing pretty” does not a poet make.  A poet has to take risks.  When Finney decided to walk away from graduate school, she undertook “to create unknown literary worlds of her own.”  She also decided to take the risk of writing topical and even political poetry.  In doing so, distinguished Danish scholar Jan Gretlund suggests, she demonstrates that politics, history, and human emotions are often expressed better in a poem than in any other medium.  Not surprisingly, then, her National Book Award winning collection Head Off and Split and the three volumes that preceded it all celebrate “the will of the human heart to speak its own mind.”  Finney dismantles and reconfigures conventional wisdom: be yourself, know yourself.