Lucille Clifton (June 27, 1936 – February 13, 2010)

Sad news – I just found out that poet Lucille Clifton passed away a few days ago, after a long fight with cancer.

In looking over my blog, I’ve posted a ton of poems on here that she’s written. She’s… dammit, I have to use the past tense. Fuck.

She was a fantastic poet.

I had the good fortune of attending a poetry reading of hers in 2004. She was a great speaker, and while she read her work well… she also was a great storyteller.

Going back over older entries, I came across the story she told, about an experience she had as a teacher, in a class. It was a moving story when I heard it – and looking back on that story now, some six years later, it still moves me today.

I really liked her poem Kali. In addition to the power of that final line (it sort of just comes out and smacks you in the jaw at the end there), the whole thing is immensely read-able. Out loud, I mean. The words in that poem just lift off the page, and they’re just begging your mouth to say them aloud.

While she’s probably best known for her poem homeage to my hips, I’ve got a variety posted on here that are my favorites. While Kali is a pleasure to the tongue, there’s nothing that compares to the final line of her poem won’t you celebrate with me.

Although reading that poem now, especially that final line… it’s breaking my fucking heart.

I’m surprised to find myself actually quite upset at this news. It’s been an hour since I found out, and my mood has steadily declined. What a strong voice, what a strong life.

What a good woman.

my mama moved among the days
i am running into a new year
Poetry Reading: Lucille Clifton
won’t you celebrate with me
History, Hug
love rejected
to the unborn and waiting children
i rise
Aimee and Lucille

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