Friday, April 18, 2008

Friday Speak Out: Lucille Clifton

Originally Thelma Lucille Sayles later Lucille Clifton was born June 27, 1936, in Depew, New York although she moved to Buffalo, New York with her family early on in her life. She won a scholarship to Howard University in Washington D.C. but transferred to Fredonia State Teachers College. At Howard, Clifton was exposed to the dramatist and poet Amiri Bakara, also know as LeRoi Jones and another poet, Sterling Brown. Its when Clifton was attending Fredonia State Teachers College that she was experimenting and exploring poetry, drama, and other various things that went on to shape her writing. Clifton held positions at Coppin State College in Baltimore, Maryland, from 1974 to 1979; the University of California, Santa Cruz, from 1985 to 1989; Distinguished Professor of Literature and Distinguished Professor of Humanities at St. Mary's College, Maryland, from 1989 to 1991; and professor of creative writing at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, beginning in 1998. She served as Poet Laureate of the state of Maryland from 1979 to 1985.

Clifton is the owner of Pulitzer Prize nominations for poetry in 1980, 1987, and 1991, the Lannan Literary Award for poetry in 1997, the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize in 1997, the Los Angeles Times Poetry Award in 1997, the Lila Wallace/Reader's Digest Award in 1999, and the National Book Award for Blessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems, 1988-2000 (2000) also a National Book Award nomination for The Terrible Stories (1996). NO only that but she has been awarded honorary degrees from Colby College, the University of Maryland, Towson State University, Washington College, and Albright College. Lucille Clifton’s work shows true passion for the things of everyday and she was rightfully recognized for her talents.
(Bio, revised)

Poetry reading on April 3, 2007 at SUNY Fredonia
Download mp3 here
Or click here and scroll down to "Poetry reading by Lucille Clifton"

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