Monday, April 15, 2013

Lucille Clifton

Lucille Clifton (1936—2010) has received much recognition for her poetry. She served as Poet Laureate of Maryland from 1979 to 1985, had two different poetry collections published in 1987 both as finalists for the Pulitzer Prize, and she received the National Book Award for Blessing the Boats: New and Collected Poems 1988—2000. She is also the author of eighteen children’s books.

In 1966 Langston Hughes included some of her poems in an anthology of Black poetry. When her first collection Good Times (1969) appeared The New York Times called it one of the year’s ten best books.

Peggy Rosethal said in The Christian Century, "The first thing that strikes us about Lucille Clifton's poetry is what is missing: capitalization, punctuation, long and plentiful lines. We see a poetry so pared down that its spaces take on substance, become a shaping presence as much as the words themselves". This is evident in the following poem.

sprng song

the green of Jesus
is breaking the ground
and the sweet
smell of delicious Jesus
is opening the house and
the dance of Jesus music
has hold of the air and
the world is turning
in the body of Jesus and
the future is possible

Entry written by D.S. Martin. He is the award-winning author of the poetry collections Poiema (Wipf & Stock) and So The Moon Would Not Be Swallowed (Rubicon Press). They are both available at: www.dsmartin.ca