August 28, 2002
NORTHAMPTON, Mass.-Smith College will host poet Lucille Clifton at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 24, in Wright Hall Auditorium. The event, sponsored by the Poetry Center, is free and open to the public.
Clifton is one of the most beloved and respected figures in American poetry today. A major voice since her publishing debut in 1969, she has continued to portray the experiences of being an African American, a woman and a human, with clarity and elegance. Her language, often described as "deceptively simple," strikes a nuanced balance between complexity of thought and economy of words.
Born in Depew, N.Y., Clifton attended both Howard University (where she met future luminaries Toni Morrison and James Baldwin) and Fredonia State Teachers College (now SUNY-Fredonia). She is the author of a dozen books of poetry and prose and almost 20 children's books, including the Everett Anderson series. The New York Times named her first book of poems, "Good Times," one of the ten best books of 1969. Subsequent books include "An Ordinary Woman," "Good Woman," "Quilting" and, most recently, "Blessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems, 1988-2000," which won the National Book Award. Clifton is the only poet to have two books nominated for the Pulitzer at once ("Next" and "Good Woman: Poems and a Memoir, 1969-1980").
Poet and essayist Haki Madhubuti writes of Clifton, "Lucille Clifton is a poet of 'mean' talent who has not let her gifts separate her from the work at hand. She is a teacher and an example. To read her is to give birth to bright seasons."