Lucille Clifton

(June 27, 1936 - February 13, 2010 / Baltimore, Maryland)

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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

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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  • Jasbir Chatterjee (11/7/2013 10:23:00 PM)

    for a change, PH made a right choice in choosing this poem as poem of the day..it certainly deserves to be..I like the bold attitude in this poem... (Report) Reply

  • Soumita Sarkar (11/7/2013 4:05:00 AM)

    Good satire on the hips that are attractive and free..............BUT I completely agree with what Mr. Nair said....... (Report) Reply

  • Babatunde Aremu (11/7/2013 2:49:00 AM)

    Ha, ha, ha.........This is hilarious. The poet is celebrating the giftof God in her life. But be warned if the hips are too big it becomes a problem to the owner. Well, I enjoy the poem. Kudos (Report) Reply

  • Krishnakumar Chandrasekar Nair (11/7/2013 2:23:00 AM)

    All hips have an expiry date
    A time when no more heads they turn
    When you are a little overweight
    And seeing other hips with jealousy burn.............

    Good poem and surprising choice of subject. I welcome all poets reading this to my page too. (Report) Reply

  • Leon Leonidas (3/6/2013 1:13:00 AM)

    I came here following a link in a piece in the NYT, 'Black Women and Fat', by Alice Randall,5 May 2012.

    As Randall, an overweight black woman trying to get her weight under 200 lbs points out:

    FOUR out of five black women are seriously overweight. One out of four middle-aged black women has diabetes. With $174 billion a year spent on diabetes-related illness in America and obesity quickly overtaking smoking as a cause of cancer deaths, it is past time to try something new.

    Randall goes on to argue the African American women are fat because they want to be fat, and because their husbands want them to be fat. Thus females being fat is seen as being desirable in African American culture.

    Clifton, therefore, is not making a statement about being a powerful, independent woman, even if she thinks she is. Clifton is merely conforming to the expectations of African American culture, a culture shaped by male and female African Americans, but also of course shaped by white American culture. (Report) Reply

  • Leon Leonidas (3/6/2013 1:12:00 AM)

    I came here following a link in a piece in the NYT, 'Black Women and Fat', by Alice Randall,5 May 2012.

    As Randall, an overweight black woman trying to get her weight under 200 lbs points out:

    FOUR out of five black women are seriously overweight. One out of four middle-aged black women has diabetes. With $174 billion a year spent on diabetes-related illness in America and obesity quickly overtaking smoking as a cause of cancer deaths, it is past time to try something new.

    Randall goes on to argue the African American women are fat because they want to be fat, and because their husbands want them to be fat. Thus females being fat is seen as being desirable in African American culture.

    Clifton, therefore, is not making a statement about being a powerful, independent woman, even if she thinks she is. Clifton is merely conforming to the expectations of African American culture, a culture shaped by male and female African Americans, but also of course shaped by white American culture. (Report) Reply

  • Ramesh Rai (11/7/2012 7:00:00 AM)

    nice homage to hips. hips have never been enslaved rather enslaved the man to spin him like a top. (Report) Reply

  • Tony Nyen (11/25/2009 11:46:00 AM)

    Homage to my Hips

    By Lucille Clifton

    She uses a figurative metaphor “Hips” to represent her personal characteristics. She has powerful, mighty, and magic hips. She is proud of her body. She is an independent woman not to enslave to anyone even her husband. She can sway her husband around like a top. The broader mean is that “man” stand for people. She can sway people conception about her, her race, her identity as a black woman. Her Hips need more space to move around means very little in physical aspect but it has more meaning as she, a black woman, would like to have more freedom, freedom to go outside socially than to be confined in a limited space at home. (Report) Reply

  • Dom Hynes (9/14/2009 9:30:00 PM)

    Hey, Eseta O Poulivaati. This is one of my favorite poems as well. We read it in class and explicated it a bit. I was glad to hear that the poem was able to get you a good grade in your english class. I think my class enjoyed the poem as well. Take care (Report) Reply

  • Sean Taggart (9/14/2009 9:28:00 PM)

    in the poem she basically says 'this is the way i am deal with it'. she stands strong and doesn't let anyone tell her about her own body. she doesn't spend any time worrying about what other people think of her appearance. she knows that she is special for who she is and nothing can come between that. it is inspirational because its how many people feel today in society with their issues with thier bodies. it is about pride. i agree with rebecca taylor and what she says about the line where clifton says she can put a spell on a man with her hips. she says that she knows the power she has and knowing what power we have is important to ones self esteem. (Report) Reply

  • Dom Hynes (9/14/2009 9:23:00 PM)

    This poem is one of my favorites. You can tell the author (Lucile Clifton) is a proud woman who is very confident about her hips. She then explains why those hips are so important to her and that they 'require space.' I dont think this just means that she cant be in tight places. I also think she could be telling the average person to get out of her way, because she needs her space. Her hips go where they want to go, and do what they want to do. I think this is her way of showing her independence as a women. You can just tell that the author know who she is and is comfortable under her own skin (Report) Reply

  • Rebecca Taylor (9/14/2009 9:19:00 PM)

    In the poem 'Homage to my Hips', Lucille Clifton shows that she has a very positive image of her hips and her body. It's a big problem with this generation that most women feel they are constantly being judged by their appearance. Media now a days makes it hard on women to be who they are and really be proud of themselves for what God has given them. Lucille Clifton really proves with this poem that she is proud of what God has given her and is not afraid to be herself. She is not self-conscience in the least bit because she discusses in the beginning of the poem 'these hips are big hips'. She continues on to say that 'they don't fit into little petty places', meaning that she doesn't want to be associated with the people that focus on detail and the people that spend all of their time judging other people's looks.

    In line 9, she states ' these hips are mighty hips' which shows that she knows they are a very powerful thing for a women to have. In lines 13 to 15, she reveals why she thinks they're so powerful by stating 'I have known them to put a spell on a man and spin him like a top! ' This statement is amazing because it shows the power that all women have on men, and that only some women have been lucky enough to master. (Report) Reply

  • Allison Bennett (4/8/2007 7:33:00 PM)

    I have to write a poetry paper connecting Homage to my Hips, Hoamge to my hair and What the Mirror Said; all by Lucille Clifton, if anyone can help me connect these poems I would greatly appreciate it! Thanks! (Report) Reply

  • Jenn Murray (9/25/2006 9:26:00 PM)

    Can someone please help me out with this poem please, I have to write a paper on it and I want to make sure I fully understand it. I get the overall idea for the most part, but if someone that really understands this could help me out by posting something, that would be great. Thank you! (Report) Reply

  • Sarah Grafton (11/1/2005 3:23:00 AM)

    Homage to Her Hips

    These hips are mungo hips
    They yearn for terf to
    gyrate in
    They don't harmonize into wee
    niggling zones. These hips
    are footloose hips.
    They don't savor to be gorked.
    They have never been incommunicado,
    they mosey where they wanna beat it.
    They pull off where they want to give satisfaction.
    These hips are steamroller hips
    these hips are pizzazz.
    I have noted them
    to plunk a double whammy on a macho earthling
    and hurl him like a frisbee. (Report) Reply

  • Eseta O Poulivaati (8/12/2005 3:43:00 PM)

    this poem has got to be my FAVORITE poem ever! ! I had used this poem for my senior year back in 2001 for my final english exam.....and Can I just say! ! this poem got me to the top of my class! ! Thank you Ms. Clifton! ! My class enjoyed your poem and so did I! ! (Report) Reply

Read all 21 comments »

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