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Lucille Clifton

her background and analysis three of her poems
by

Mona Abdulrab

on 26 April 2010

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Transcript of Lucille Clifton

Lucille Clifton 1936-2010 Biographical Facts
Born in Depew, NY 1936
first had ambitions of being an actress
went to Howard University and State University of New York at Fredonia
married Fred Clifton 1958
worked various jobs: claims clerk, literature assistant, and was labeled as the poet-in-residence at Coppin State College in Baltimore
first recognized when a fellow poet, Robert Hayden, entered a few of Clifton’s works into the 1969 YW-YMHA Poetry Center Discovery Award
Good Times (New York Times top ten best books of the year) a legion of prestigious awards, including an Emmy, the National Book Award, and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist twice
served as the Poet Laureate of the state of Maryland from 1979 to 1982
titled the Distinguished Professor of Humanities at St. Mary’s College in Maryland and taught at Columbia University for four years
in her career wrote over 30 books (20 of which were children books) Follows three central themes in her works:
focuses on African American culture and heritage
treatment of women
religon (Christianity)
"slave cabin,
sotterly plantation, maryland, 1989" in this little room
note carefully

aunt nanny's bench
three words that label
things
aunt
is my parent's sister
nanny
my grandmother
bench
the board at which
i stare
the soft curved polished
wood
that held her bottom
after the long days
without beginning
where she aunt nanny sat
feet dead against the dirty floor
humming for herself humming
her own sweet human name "water sign women" the women who feels everything
sits in her new house
waiting for someone to come
who knows how to carry water
without spilling, who knows
why the desert is sprinkled
with salt, why tomorrow
is such a long and ominous word.

they say to the feel things women
that little she dreams is possible,
that there is only so much joy to go around, only so much
water. there are no questions
for this, no arguments. she has

to forget to remember the edge
of the sea, they say, to forget
how to swim to the edge, she has
to forget how to feel. the woman
who feels everythings sits in her
new house retaining the secret
the desert knew when it walked
up from the ocean, the desert,

so beautiful in her eyes;
water will come again
if you can wait for it.
she feels what the desert feels.
she waits. "adam thinking" she
stolen from my bone
is it any wonder
i hunger to tunnel back
inside desperate
to reconnect the rib and clay
and to be whole again

some need is in me
struggling to roar through my
mouth into a name
this creation is so fierce
i would rather have been born Writing Style: concise
little or no punctuation
random spacing
short lines
message in poem is evident "Quiz" What award was Clifton a finalist for twice?
What are the three main themes that reoccur throughout Clifton's works?
About how many books has she published?
In which state was she recognized as the Poet Laureate?
What does she randomly include in her poems?


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