Lucille Clifton (1936-2010) won the National Book Award for Poetry for Blessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems 1988-2000 and was the first African American female recipient of the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize for lifetime achievement from the Poetry Foundation. She received many additional honors throughout her career, including a 1976 Emmy Award from the American Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, a Lannan Literary Award in 1994, and the Robert Frost Medal from the Poetry Society of America in 2010.
The culmination of a 40-year career by one of America’s most revered poets, The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton 1965-2010 combines all of Lucille Clifton’s published collections with 69 previously unpublished poems. The unpublished pieces feature early poems from 1965-1969, a collection-in-progress entitled Book of Days, and a poignant selection of final poems. An insightful Foreword by Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison, and a comprehensive Afterword by noted poet Kevin Young, frame Clifton’s lifetime body of work, providing a definitive statement about this major American poet’s career.
“The love readers feel for Lucille Clifton—both the woman and her poetry—is constant and deeply felt. The lines that surface most frequently in praise of her work and her person are moving declarations of racial pride, courage, steadfastness. . . The personal courage of the woman cannot be gainsaid, but it should not function as a substitute for [acknowledging Clifton’s] piercing insight and bracing intelligence. My general impression of the best of her work: seductive with the simplicity of an atom, which is to say highly complex, explosive.”
—Toni Morrison, from the Foreword
"If you only read one poetry book in 2012, The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton ought to be it."