Rest in Peace Lucille Clifton, Poet Extraordinaire

By Daisy Hernandez Feb 15, 2010

Some women are born poets, the world grabbing the hem of their skirts. singing to them, pressing images into their sweaty palms. So it was with Lucille Clifton, who at the age of 73, passed away Saturday morning. The obituary writers pen what they must now: she won the National Book Award, she was a finalist for the Pulitzer, her first poetry collection Good Times, published in 1969, was listed by The New York Times as one of the year’s 10 best books. She wrote about feminism, race, the female body. Yes, and to all those achievements I add one more: she taught one woman that poetry was not the domain of dead white men but was our inheritance too. Thank you Lucille. Thank you.

Telling Our Stories The fox came every evening to my door asking for nothing. my fear trapped me inside, hoping to dismiss her but she sat till morning, waiting. At dawn we would, each of us, rise from our haunches, look through the glass then walk away. Did she gather her village around her and sing of the hairless moon face, the trembling snout, the ignorant eyes? Child, i tell you now it was not the animal blood i was hiding from, it was the poet in her, the poet and the terrible stories she could tell. -Lucille Clifton