Lucille Clifton died this past February at the age of 73. She lived a hard, challenging life that turned her into a remarkable poet. Her deceptively simple free verse delves into what it means to be a woman, a part of a family, a person of color, have a questioning mind and spirit. And, over and over again, what it's like to grieve.
Ms. Clifton won many awards, among them the 2000 National Book Award for Poetry.
"My Mama Moved Among the Days"
My Mama moved among the days
like a dreamwalker in a field;
seemed like what she touched was here
seemed like what touched her couldn't hold,
she got us almost through the high grass
then seemed like she turned around and ran
right back in
right back on in
Tonight at 7:00 in Wilson Hall Auditorium, JMU's Furious Flower Poetry Center presents, 73 Poems for 73 Years: Celebrating the Life of Lucille Clifton in honor of this remarkable poetic voice.
I don't often use this blog to promote specific events, but I'm using it this time, because poetry so often gets a yawning bum rap as booooooring. And Lucille Clifton's poetry is so completely not that. Nor are the poets and people gathering to read it: Joanne Gabbin, Nikki Giovanni, Rita Dove among them.
oh antic Godreturn to memy mother in her thirtiesleaned across the front porchthe huge pillow of her breastspressing against the railsummoning me in for bed.
I am almost the dead woman’s age times two.
I can barely recall her songthe scent of her handsthough her wild hair scratches my dreamsat night. return to me, oh Lord of thenand now, my mother’s calling,her young voice humming my name.
(Many thanks to Kristi Lee for the information about Lucille Clifton's life)