Life According to Lucille Clifton
Lucille Clifton (1926-2010) was a prolific poet, author of children’s literature, and educator. Born in Depew, New York, on June 27, 1936, Clifton was raised with a deep appreciation for the African and African-American arts. She published her first volume of poems, Good Times, in 1969 to critical acclaim. Her poems have been described as celebrations of African-American heritage and black womanhood, emphasizing endurance and strength through hardship and societal oppression. In addition to two Creative Writing Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and numerous other prestigious awards, several of Clifton's books were nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, including Good Woman: Poems and a Memoir, 1969-1980, Next: New Poems, and Two-Headed Woman. Clifton served as the state of Maryland's poet laureate from 1974 until 1985, and won the National Book Award for Blessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems, 1988-2000. Clifton was also an acclaimed children’s novelist, known in particular for her Everett Anderson series, as well as a Distinguished Professor of Humanities at St. Mary's College of Maryland and Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.