With numerous awards and publication credits under her belt, Lucille Clifton has more than proven her worth over a long poetic career. In her twelfth collection, Clifton again showcases her gifts of a musical ear attuned to everyday language, a Zen-like minimalism of form and sentence structure, and keen perception that sees beyond obvious realities to a deeply spiritual realm. From the wreckage of what is lost in life to such forces as cancer and terrorism, to the redemption of what remains, like birth and otherworldly assistance, Clifton's voice speaks truth and sings hope. One can see a bit of Dickinson here, as well as Gwendolyn Brooks. And in the last section of Mercy,
"The Message from the Ones" (a kind of angelic channeling), there is poignancy akin to Rilke's Duino Elegies
. Clifton is a poet who should attract a diverse audience. In fact, her poems are so accessible, and appear so straightforward, that one could easily mistake them as simplistic; but that is something her work will never be. Janet St. JohnCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
--This text refers to the
About the Author
Lucille Clifton won the 2007 Ruth Lilly Poetry Award. Her book, Blessing the Boats (BOA Editions), won the 2000 National Book Award for Poetry. Two of Clifton's BOA poetry collections were chosen as finalists for the Pulitzer Prize in 1988. Clifton's awards include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and an Emmy Award.