Blessing The Boats


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About the Author

Lucille Clifton (1936-2010) was one of the most distinguished, decorated and beloved poets of her time. She won the National Book Award for Poetry for Blessing the Boats and was the first African American female recipient of the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize for lifetime achievement from the Poetry Foundation. Clifton received many additional honors throughout her career, including the Discovery Award in 1969 for her first collection Good Times, a 1976 Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for the television special Free to Be You and Me, a Lannan Literary Award in 1994, and the Robert Frost Medal from the Poetry Society of America in 2010. Her honours and awards give testa-ment to the universality of her unique and resonant voice. She was named a Literary Lion by the New York Public Library in 1996, served as a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets from 1999 to 2005, and was elected a Fellow in Literature of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 1987, she became the first author to have two books of poetry - Good Woman and Next - chosen as finalists for the Pulitzer Prize in the same year. She was also the author of eighteen children's books, and in 1984 received the Coretta Scott King Award from the American Library Association for her book Everett Anderson's Good-bye.


Seductive with the simplicity of an atom, which is to say highly complex, explosive underneath an apparent quietude
*Toni Morrison*

Clifton was one of America's great poets, whose work throughout her lifetime was committed to chronicling and celebrating black lives. The honesty, joy, wisdom, and hope she brought to this task is regenerative
*Tracy K. Smith, former U.S. Poet Laureate*

Few poets have traversed such deserts, playgrounds and high castles of possibility in the briefest and seemingly effortless poetry. Her big-hearted work welcomes us and transports us with grace and mischief. It is poetry that goes down like fine wine and that sustains, in us, its good mood of inquiry ever after
*Professor Daljit Nagra, Brunel University London*

Open up to any page and Clifton delivers a word. Whether the subject is roaches, family, death, or surviving, she has a psalm for all occasions. She can create the most complicated magic out of the simplest words
*The Week*

Clifton's earliest poems could have been written yesterday, and her later works could have been written decades ago. Each poem is always its own world. Her poems touch on the political, the personal, the spiritual
*The New York Times*

Clifton wrote physically small poems with enormous and profound inner worlds ... Her poems are committed to truth-telling in the face of silence. History in her work is embodied, alive, and autonomous, alert to its own contradictions
*New Yorker*

No-one writes like Lucille Clifton ... The poems, in their specificity and dilating scale, startle readers into new sense. They discomfort as often as they bless, and they bless as often as they wonder - bearing witness to joy and to struggle
*The Paris Review*

Although her work is often spare and simple, it is always beautifully and painstakingly crafted into poems that tell the truth, poems that insist on residing within the reader, poems by a poet who seeks and achieves the ability to be a vehicle for those who may not otherwise speak
*Web Del Sol Review of Books*

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