Lucille Clifton (Poet, RIP 2/13/10)

Today I’m reading some poetry by Lucille Clifton, an African American poet whose work is bright with the power of self-creation, triumph and the fierce embrace her female-ness. I want to share a couple with you:

won’t you celebrate with me?

won’t you celebrate with me
what i have shaped into
a kind of life? i had no model.
born in babylon
both nonwhite and woman
what did i see to be except myself?
i made it up
here on this bridge between
starshine and clay.
my one hand holding tight
my other hand; come celebrate
with me that everyday
something has tried to kill me
and has failed.


these hips are big hips
they need space to
move around in.
they don’t fit into little
petty places. these hips
are free hips.
they don’t like to be held back.
these hips have never been enslaved,
they go where they want to go
they do what they want to do.
these hips are mighty hips.
these hips are magic hips.
i have known them
to put a spell on a man and
spin him like a top!

my dream about being white

hey music and
only white,
hair a flutter of
fall leaves
circling my perfect
line of a nose,
no lips,
no behind, hey
white me
and i’m wearing
white history
but there’s no future
in those clothes
so i take them off and
wake up

2 Responses to “Lucille Clifton (Poet, RIP 2/13/10)”

  1. Aaaaaaah. Love her work — her sense of who she is and who she isn’t — unapologetic and free. Beauty personified.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Love those poems. Going to look up some more of her work. Thanks for sharing.