Gemini, so titled because of the sign of the zodiac under which Giovanni was born, is subtitled An Extended Autobiographical Statement on My First Twenty-five Years of Being a Black Poet. As such, Gemini is not a strictly chronological autobiography in the usual sense; rather, it is a collection of carefully selected and arranged recollections and observations that helped her develop into the black revolutionary poet that she was at the time of its writing. Published when Giovanni was twenty-eight, most of the pieces had indeed been written several years earlier, when she reflected on having turned twenty-five.
The book is divided into thirteen sections and covers everything from a history of her grandparents, John Brown and Louvenia Watson, to an appreciation of actress, singer, and black icon Lena Horne to an appraisal of the early black novelist and short-story writer Charles Waddell Chesnutt to a review of a book on black music by black writer Phyll Garland that Giovanni finds severely limited. Through these comments, and especially in the last section, “Gemini—A Prolonged Autobiographical Statement on Why,” Giovanni grapples with various aspects of her thoughts and feelings in an attempt to explain and justify her stance as a revolutionary. She is never apologetic; rather, she speaks her mind very matter-of-factly in the characteristic Giovanni manner.
One important revelation in Gemini is her...
(The entire section is 496 words.)