By February 16, 2010 0 Comments Read More →

Lucille Clifton, R.I.P.: A Poet Sails On

Messages began to accumulate like snow online over the weekend as the chilling news of poet Lucille Clifton’s death began to travel from one poetry lover to another. I feel bereft as so many others do because Clifton was the sort of poet who spoke to everyone about everything that matters with unfailing clarity, conviction, and strength. She practiced the less-is-more approach to poetry, writing concentrated, deceptively simple poems that pack a powerful punch. Her many books include Blessing the Boats and Mercy. A National Book Award Winner and the first African American woman to be awarded the coveted Ruth Lilly Prize, Clifton has always addressed the cruel and wounding and baffling aspects of life—hate, prejudice, violence, war, disease, death, yet when I think of her poems, I think of elegance and wit, sensuousness and laughter, birds and foxes and the moon, tenderness and courage. Clifton’s presence will be missed, her poems treasured.Poet Lucille Clifton, 1936-2010

a dream of foxes

in the dream of foxes
there is a field
and a procession of women
clean as good children
no hollow in the world
surrounded by dogs
no fur clumped bloody
on the ground
only a lovely time
of honest women stepping
without fear or guilt or shame
safe through the generous fields.

Homage to My Hips

these hips are big hips.
they need space to
move around in.
they don’t fit into little
petty places. these hips
are free hips.
they don’t like to be held back.
these hips have never been enslaved,
they go where they want to go
they do what they want to do.
these hips are mighty hips.
these hips are magic hips.
i have known them
to put a spell on a man and
spin him like a top

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About the Author:

Donna Seaman is a senior editor at Booklist. Her radio interviews are collected in Writers on the Air: Conversations about Books (2005).

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