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'Find the words that keep you going' | Nikki Giovanni talks the power of words and dreams

Knoxville native and poet Nikki Giovanni reminds us how powerful words are and how entitled we are to our happiness and our dreams.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Nikki Giovanni is an open book about a topic she knows all too well. 

The Knoxville-born bestselling author and poet has been awarded seven NAACP Image Awards nominated for a Grammy and was at one point a finalist for the National Book Award.

"I think words are the most important thing, period," she said 

For her, it's not only about what words mean to us. It's about what words mean to the world and to our own stories.

"We forget how powerful words are and how they give back to us," Giovanni said. 

Especially in a period when communication is vital, Giovanni talked through communicating with her own family and friends -- and why that is so important. 

"I think people forget how important it is to talk to each other," she said.  "That's what you do, you learn to show that what you love and that's what words do."

But I wanted to know just how powerful words can be. Giovanni said it really depends on who you are and how you use them.

"It's always interesting, what we find important and how we place the emphasis," she said. 

One emphasis for Giovanni is still her ability to dream.

"I would love to be able to go into space." she said. 

It's an experience she said could even shape they way she uses words to describe the world we live in.

"We don't have what artists think of space -- we only have what scientists think of it," Giovanni said. 

But if she could offer any advice, it would be for you to use your words to dream too.

"You're only going to live for so long, so if you know that, wouldn't it be fabulous to sit in space at the space station," she said. 

Lastly, I wanted to know if she would offer any bit of advice to people. Her response highlighted the very things we have the ability to give ourselves and the world. 

"I want people to say to themselves, 'it's really okay to be happy about something, it's really okay to love something, it's really okay to remember something and it's really okay to dream of something,'" she said. 

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