What makes a sad person sing? Poet Nikki Giovanni imagines the pain, the pride, the need for connection and sanity that impelled slaves to create beautiful music, in her inspired meditation On My Journey Now: Looking at African-American History Through the Spirituals (Candlewick). Musing on the verse, "Sometimes I feel like a motherless child," Giovanni writes: 'I like that 'sometimes.' Because it is so hopeful. It is not all the time.... That means we can make it." A celebration of spirit and nerve.