Nikky Finney was born on the coast of South Carolina in 1957 to a family of politicians and activists. She began writing poetry as a young girl, during a childhood marked by the civil rights struggle, and subsequently attended Talladega College in Alabama.
Finney is the author of the poetry collections Head Off & Split (TriQuarterly Books, 2011), winner of the 2011 National Book Award; The World Is Round (InnerLight Publishing, 2003); Rice (Sister Vision, 1995); and On Wings Made of Gauze (W. Morrow, 1985).
As a photographer and performance artist, Finney worked to engage her political and artistic selves, before finding a unique fusion of the two in her poetry. She is deeply invested in the Black Arts movement, and is a founding member of the Affrilachian Poets, a group of multiracial poets devoted to giving voice to the diversity of Appalachia. Finney is also on the Board of Cave Canem.
In addition to the National Book Award, Finney has received a PEN American Open Book Award and the Benjamin Franklin Award for Poetry. She has taught at the University of Kentucky, is currently a professor at the University of South Carolina.
Head Off & Split (TriQuarterly Books, 2011)
The World Is Round (InnerLight Publishing, 2003)
Rice (Sister Vision, 1995)
On Wings Made of Gauze (W. Morrow, 1985)