The collected poems of Lucille Clifton 1965-2010

Lucille Clifton, 1936-2010

Book - 2012

The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton 1965-2010 combines all eleven of Lucille clifton's published collections with more than sixty previously unpublished poems. The unpublished works feature early poems from 1965-1969, a collection-in-progress titled Book of Days (2008), and a poignant selection of final poems.

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Location Call Number   Status
2nd Floor 811.54/Clifton Checked In
Rochester, NY : BOA Editions c2012.
Main Author
Lucille Clifton, 1936-2010 (-)
Other Authors
Michael S. Glaser, 1943- (-)
1st ed
Physical Description
xxxiv, 769 p. ; 24 cm
Includes bibliographical references (p. 750-752) and index.
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

Given the concision of Clifton's high-impact poems and her death at 73 in 2010, the heft of this collection is both surprising and affirming. More than 50 previously unpublished poems stand beside never-before-collected works and the poems from her 11 poetry books, including Good Times (1969), Two-headed Woman (1980), Quilting (1991), and Mercy (2004). In her foreword, Toni Morrison observes that Clifton, recipient of the National Book Award and Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, is revered for her courage and candor in writing about womanhood, African American life, illness, and the elusiveness of justice while emphasizing her intellect, imagination, scholarship . . . and risk-taking manipulation of language. Indeed, Clifton's deceptively spare poems work a complexly powerful spell as she draws us in and unleashes her barbed, saucy, tonic, and detonating responses to life's beauty, cruelty, irony, and power. Poets and literary sleuths Michael S. Glaser and Kevin Young (Ardency, 2011) performed editorial magic, and Young's intimate and clarifying closing essay is a treasure. A magnificent gathering of the work of a crucial poet of wit, genius, and heart.--Seaman, Donna Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Clifton (1936-2010) was undeniably a major American poet; her poems, best known for their expressions of feminist ideals, African-American history and contemporary life, and intimate family life, cover a vast array of human experiences, as this surprisingly large complete volume attests. The average Clifton poem isn't quite half a page long, and most of her books were slim indeed, so it is nothing short of astounding to find that she wrote quite this much. Luckily she did, for here is a formidable life's work. From the earliest poems collected here, we see the familial merged seamlessly with the political, the general woven with the homespun, "certainty" sought and found in "the truth of potatoes/ steaming the panes and/ butter/ gold and predictable as/ heroes in history." Some poems, like "after kent state" roil with anger and fierce identification-"white ways are/ the way of death/ come into the black/ and live"-while others, like "earth" take in an almost biblically panoramic view in just a few lines: "it bore varicolored/ flowers children bees/ all this used to be a/ place once all this/ was a nice place/ once." Clifton was a master of minimalism and understatement, able to use techniques that would fail utterly in lesser poets' hands-single-word lines, no punctuation or capital letters, the lowercase "i" as a pronoun-to startling effect, even when she's just writing about the trials of being a poet, as in "after the reading" ("i throw myself into/ Howard Johnson's bed/ and long for home,/ that sad mysterious country/ where nobody notices/ a word I say"), or about undergoing treatment for cancer, as in "lumpectomy eve": "love calls you to this knife/ for love for love// all night it is the one breast/ comforting the other." Elsewhere, Clifton could spin a timeless myth out of a few stark lines: "in the dream of foxes/ there is a field/ and a procession of women/ clean as good children." All poetry readers will want to own this book; almost everything is in it. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review

"Who/ among us can imagine ourselves/ unimagined"? asks National Book Award winner Clifton, invoking "lost people" and "lost poems" that have fallen off the map into the mouths of dragons. The author ofÅ18 children's books as well as this substantial body of poems, Clifton (who died in 2010) imagined for those who couldn't or wouldn't-theÅracist, the incestuous father,Åthe victim, the tired, the poor, theÅoverlooked, the dead, and her own buried self. Here are allÅthe poems she published during her lifetime, in books and in journals, as well as some unpublished material from her archives at Emory University. Like many of these pieces, "Black Women" is an exercise in conceptual and linguistic contrast that makes startling use of the neologism: "America made us heroines/ not wives./ We hid our ladiness/ to save our lives." All the poems are filled with the people in Clifton's life. "When you poem this," says the speaker's sister, a well-read prostitute, "remember the book of Job." But to this dead sufferer she responds, "may heaven be filled/ with literate men/ may they bed you/ with respect." VERDICT For all collections, although some readers might prefer to begin with Blessing the Boats: New and Collected Poems, 1988-2000.-Ellen Kaufman, New York (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.