an American writer and educator from Buffalo, New York. From 1979–1985 she was Poet Laureate of Maryland. Common topics in her poetry include the celebration of her African American heritage, and feminist themes, with particular emphasis on the female body.
Life and career
Lucille Clifton (born Thelma Lucille Sayles) grew up in Buffalo, New York, and graduated from Fosdick-Masten Park High School in 1953. She went on to study on a scholarship at Howard University from 1953 to 1955, and after leaving over poor grades, studied at the State University of New York at Fredonia (near Buffalo).
In 1958, she married Fred James Clifton, a professor of Philosophy at ... more »
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Lucille Clifton Poems
Homage to My Hips
these hips are big hips. they need space to move around in. they don't fit into little
Poem in praise of menstruation
if there is a river more beautiful than this bright as the blood red edge of the moon if
i am accused of tending to the past
i am accused of tending to the past as if i made it, as if i sculpted it with my own hands. i did not.
my daddy has paid the rent and the insurance man is gone and the lights is back on and my uncle brud has hit
when I watch you wrapped up like garbage sitting, surrounded by the smell of too old potato peels
whatever slid into my mother's room that late june night, tapping her great belly, summoned me out roundheaded and unsmiling. is this the moon, my father used to grin.
she stolen from my bone is it any wonder i hunger to tunnel back
A Dream of Foxes
fox who can blame her for hunkering
it lay in my palm soft and trembled as a new bird and i thought about authority and how it always insisted on itself, how it was master
ask me to tell how it feels remembering your mother's face turned to water under the white words of the man at the shoe store. ask me,
listen children keep this in the place you have for keeping always
There is a girl inside
There is a girl inside. She is randy as a wolf. She will not walk away and leave these bones to an old woman.
boys i don't promise you nothing but this what you pawn
for mama remember this. she is standing by
Quotationsmore quotations »
''Poetry is a matter of life, not just a matter of language.''Lucille Clifton (b. 1936), U.S. poet. As quoted in Listen to Their Voices, ch. 9, by Mickey Pearlman (1993).
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
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Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
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(31 October 1795 – 23 February 1821)
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