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February 15, 2010

R.I.P. poet Lucille Clifton

lucille cliftonThose who were still snow-bound last weekend might not have heard the sad news: Former state poet laureate and National Book Award winner Lucille Clifton died Saturday at age 73, after a long battle with cancer and other illnesses. Her obituary in the Baltimore Sun noted that the long-time Columbia resident was known for a mix of profundity, earthiness and humor in her 11 books of poetry. UPDATE: This 2/16 post includes details of memorial services.

 

The obit listed some of her many honors: She was state poet laureate from 1979 to 1985. She was the first black woman to win the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize award (2007), which is among the most prestigious awards for American poets and which carries a $100,000 stipend. She won the National Book Award in 2001 for "Blessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems, 1988-2000" and was a two-time Pulitzer finalist. 

At Poets.org you can read some of her poems, including "blessing the boats," and hear her provocative voice reading "homage to my hips."

May she rest in peace.

Posted by Dave Rosenthal at 10:20 AM | | Comments (18)
Categories: Obituaries
        

Comments

she'll be missed :( talked about this in class today

A beautiful presence that will not be forgotten. I have planned a tribute for class tomorrow as students return from the holiday. They will be blessed with the clip of Ms. Clifton reciting "won't you celebrate with me" from the Poetry Foundation.

That's a great tribute. For others wou'd like to hear that poem, here's the link: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/journal/audioitem.html?id=1756

I am a cat, and I'm named after Lucille Clifton.

My mediocre servant , Sabra, was on the board of her publisher. She took me to a reading of Miss Clifton, the poet.

After the reading, Lucille asked if I was the cat named after her.

Sabra said, well, yes.

Lucille then asked, why did you name this cat after me?

Sabra replied, because you're both gorgeous & I wouldn't cross either one of you.

Lucille laughed and said, damned right!

I'll miss Lucille, her poetry and her great hips!

Awful news. I hope she's in a better place now free of pain and suffering. You'll be missed.

Sad news to hear we will missed her especially in there writings i hope shes in good hands now by our heavenly father.

Ohh. Very sad news. I read a few poems of her . Her poems were unique in its own way. Its really a great loss for literature.

I did not this happened! Very sad. Really a huge loss for the literature, specially for the poetry section. I love her poem very much.

I hope she's in a better place now free of pain and suffering. You'll be missed.

She's the 2nd one poet laureate awardee naturally died, first one was a man. R.I.P. Lucille Clifton

I hope she's in a better place now free of pain and suffering.Take care of your health.

Her poems were unique in its own way. Its really a great loss for literature. Thanx for the post.

She is one of my favorite poet because she has inspired me with her writings/poems. I was also inspired to write poems because of her. I really miss her.

Well, I hope she's in a better place now free of pain and suffering. You'll be missed.

Her poems were unique in its own way. Its really a great loss for literature, thanx for sharing.

She's in a better place, and we have her poems to remember her by.

Only till my natural death could I tell which of what I have been doing is right or wrong, so now I have to try to do well in everything, and then wait to die a natural death.

This is a very sad news. I read a few poems of her . Her poems were unique in its own way. Its really a great loss for literature. Farewell.

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About the blogger
Dave Rosenthal came to The Baltimore Sun as a business reporter in 1987 and now is the Maryland Editor. He reads a wide range of books (but never as many as he'd like), usually alternating between non-fiction and fiction. Some all-time favorites: A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole; Wind, Sand and Stars by Antoine de Saint-Exupery; and anything by Calvin Trillin or John McPhee. He belongs to a book club with a Jewish theme.
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