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About Lucille Clifton
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Winner of the 2013 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for Poetry
"The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton 1965-2010 may be the most important book of poetry to appear in years."--Publishers Weekly
"All poetry readers will want to own this book; almost everything is in it."--Publishers Weekly
"If you only read one poetry book in 2012, The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton ought to be it."NPR
"The 'Collected Clifton' is a gift, not just for her fans...but for all of us."--The Washington Post
"The love readers feel for Lucille Cliftonboth the woman and her poetryis constant and deeply felt. The lines that surface most frequently in praise of her work and her person are moving declarations of racial pride, courage, steadfastness."Toni Morrison, from the Foreword
The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton 19652010 combines all eleven of Lucille Clifton's published collections with more than fifty previously unpublished poems. The unpublished poems feature early poems from 19651969, a collection-in-progress titled the book of days (2008), and a poignant selection of final poems. An insightful foreword by Nobel Prizewinning author Toni Morrison and comprehensive afterword by noted poet Kevin Young frames Clifton's lifetime body of work, providing the definitive statement about this major America poet's career.
On February 13, 2010, the poetry world lost one of its most distinguished members with the passing of Lucille Clifton. In the last year of her life, she was named the first African American woman to receive the $100,000 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize honoring a US poet whose "lifetime accomplishments warrant extraordinary recognition," and was posthumously awarded the Robert Frost Medal for lifetime achievement from the Poetry Society of America.
"mother-tongue: to man-kind" (from the unpublished the book of days):
all that I am asking is
that you see me as something
more than a common occurrence,
more than a woman in her ordinary skin.
A landmark collection by National Book Award-winning poet Lucille Clifton, Good Woman: Poems and a Memoir 1969-1980 includes the four poetry collections that launched Clifton’s career—Good Times, Good News About the Earth, An Ordinary Woman, and Two-Headed Woman—as well as her haunting prose memoir, Generations.
In honor of the 30th anniversary of Lucille Clifton's Pulitzer Prize-nominated poetry collection and memoir, Good Woman is now available for the first time as a deluxe eBook edition. Enhanced with previously unpublished photographs from the Lucille Clifton Estate and a special foreword by Aracelis Girmay, this eBook is a must-have for longtime Clifton fans and newcomers alike.
Here is the good stuff: poetry written by women that actually excites the thinking reader. This anthology, spanning work of the last 75 years, will broaden its readers’ notions of what defines erotic poetry. For what is more intriguing, more satisfying than strong, self-assured writing? This groundbreaking anthology includes the most popular women writers—among them Sharon Olds, Elizabeth Alexander, Anne Sexton, Dorianne Laux, Denise Levertov, Adrienne Rich, Lucille Clifton, and Louise Glück. These poets fully demonstrate that, far from being prurient, the erotic can permeate even the most mundane aspects of life, from reading a book to buying clothes.
At the same time, the collection affirms the enormous meaningfulness of poetry—its ability to express the inexpressible and to illuminate the most private and intimate of human experiences. The poets included here represent different ethnicities, geographies, social classes, and sexual preferences. The only characteristic they share is that they are women writing about sex.
Lucille Clifton’s poetry carries her deep concerns for the world’s children, the stratification of American society, those people lost or forgotten amid the crushing race of Western materialism and technology. In turns sad, troubled and angry, her voice has always been one of great empathy, knowing, as she says, “the only mercy is memory.” In this, her 12th book of poetry, the National Book Award-winner speaks to the tenuous relationship between mothers and daughters, the debilitating power of cancer, the open wound of racial prejudice, the redemptive gift of story-telling. “September Song,” a sequence of seven poems, featured on National Public Radio, presents a modern-day Orpheus who, through her grief, attempts to heart-intelligently respond to the events of September 11th. The last sequence of poems—a tightly-woven fabric of caveats and prayers—was initially written in the 1970s, then revised and reshaped in the last few years.
Lucille Clifton is an award-winning poet, fiction writer and author of children’s books. Her most recent poetry book, Blessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems 1969–1999 (BOA), won the 2000 National Book Award for Poetry. Two of Clifton’s BOA poetry collections, Good Woman: Poems and a Memoir 1969–1980 and Next: New Poems, were chosen as finalists for the Pulitzer Prize in 1988, while Clifton’s The Terrible Stories (BOA) was a finalist for the 1996 National Book Award. Clifton has received fellowships from the NEA, an Emmy Award from the American Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the Shelley Memorial Prize and the Charity Randall Citation. She is a Distinguished Professor of Humanities as St. Mary’s College in Maryland. She was appointed a Fellow of The American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and elected as Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets in 1999. She lives in Columbia, MD.
In 2007, Lucille Clifton became the first African American woman to win the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, one of the most prestigious American poetry awards and one of the largest literary honors for work in the English language. Clifton has also won the National Book Award in poetry for Blessing the Boats (BOA Editions, 2000), and is the only author ever to have two collections, Good Woman: Poems and a Memoir (BOA Editions, 1987) and Next: New Poems (BOA Editions, 1987), named finalists for the Pulitzer Prize in one year.
In Voices, Clifton continues her celebrated aesthetic of writing poems for the disempowered and the underprivileged while finding humor and redemption among life’s many hardships. This book also highlights Clifton’s ability to write inventive dramatic monologues. Voices includes monologues spoken by animals, as well as by the food product spokespeople Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben, and the apparently nameless guy on the Cream of Wheat box.
“cream of wheat”
sometimes at night
we stroll the market aisles
ben and jemima and me they
walk in front humming this and that
i lag behind
trying to remove my chef’s cap
wondering what ever pictured me
then left me personless
i read in an old paper that i was called rastus
but no mother ever
gave that to her son
toward dawn we head back
to our shelves
our boxes ben and jemima and me
we pose and smile i simmer
to myself what is my name
BOA Editions is thrilled to present the newest poetry collection by the one and only Lucille Clifton.