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Mercy (American Poets Continuum) Paperback – September 1, 2004
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Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
"September Song" is bound to draw interest, 7 poems marking the days from the September 11th terrorist attack. Clifton's treatment is unflappable. She dares us to question everything about the experience, from our fears to our subsequent reactions. She is more than unabashedly political in her views, she is also honest.
Other poems like "on dying" do recall Dickinson. The poem gives you a sense of resolution, not of loss. It's a beautiful treatment that ties in well with other poems about the mortality of being diagnosed with cancer and the surreal experience of being outside your own body.
And Clifton has never shied from treatments of race either. But she goes deeper than just race and looks at the concepts of division.
"the river between us" is used to juxtapose the confident self reliant man who fishes the river and the god-fearing man who goes to the river seeking salvation and calling for help from above. It's a powerful statement and a testament to her range and skill.
If minimalism is your benchmark for exceptional poetry, few have a better mastery than Lucille Clifton.
At times this seems like several books of poetry back to back. There are some sequences that require you to change gears very quickly.
Still this is a wonderful book of poetry, which is highly recommended.
In plaintive and beautifully sparse and simple language she transports the reader into her world with all its soulfulness and quiet reflection. Wonderful.
"Mercy" is more terse in tone, the tension deriving from the gravity of her subject matter. It is more weighty and erudite than the collection in "Boats," but every bit as profound and endearing.
Lucille Clifton died on Feb. 12th from a protracted battle with cancer. The world has lost a significant voice and I am glad I can honor her in my class rooms. I will make sure her poems live on in the minds and hearts of young people. She deserves a permanent home there.