Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton 1965-2010” as Want to Read:
The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton 1965-2010
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton 1965-2010

4.64 of 5 stars 4.64  ·  rating details  ·  100 ratings  ·  17 reviews
"The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton 1965-2010 may be the most important book of poetry to appear in years."--Publishers Weekly

"All poetry readers will want to own this book; almost everything is in it."--Publishers Weekly

"If you only read one poetry book in 2012, The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton ought to be it."—NPR

"The 'Collected Clifton' is a gift, not just for
Hardcover, 720 pages
Published August 28th 2012 by BOA Editions Ltd.
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton 1965-2010, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton 1965-2010

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 493)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
What a handsome collection of poetry! BOA editions went all out with this well-made and superbly edited (Kevin Young) volume. The introduction by Toni Morrison sets the stage for a new reading and criticism of Clifton's work: less "big mama/big sister of racial reassurance and self-empowerment" and more "references to her intellect, imagination, scholarship, or her risk taking manipulation of language."

Her religious poems are hair-raising. Lucifer converses with God: "let us rest here a time/lik
The masterful, the wonderful Lucille Clifton finally gets her Collected Poems. I will happily be reading these poems for the rest of my days. Lovely edition, too!
Grady McCallie
Having all these poems in a single volume is a real gift. Inevitably, they aren't all top quality; but it's interesting to see the evolution of Lucille Clifton's themes and techniques across her career. Many of the early poems focus on black identity, or honor figures in the Civil Rights or Black Power movements. Some of the poems I found most moving (but completely unsentimental) are those from her middle period, especially around the death of her husband in 1984 (collected in Next, published i ...more

An excellent curation of Clifton's work presented faithful to her original formatting and design. Morrison and Young both have wonderful words to frame this collection, but the best that can be said is they get out of the way quick and let the poetry take its central place. Many poets do not stand up to a collected. Their subject grows wearisome or their style proves repetitive. Many poets presented in a collected prove, in the end, derivative of their earlier selves. Ms. Clifton, her life's wo
I knew what a powerhouse Clifton is -- and this book confirms it, with an introduction by Toni Morrison and afterword by Kevin Young. There is a final selection of poems that are not published anywhere else. It is wonderful to have everything in one volume. The joy of a book like this, is to go back and re-read and let favorites sink deep under your skin. As Merwin says, "it is not possible for me to speak about Lucille Clifton without feeling love for her." Her use of "ordinary words we go on u ...more
I finished this massive (770p.!) book with massive gratitude for the life and craft (crafty life? lively craft?) of Lucille Clifton. I mourn her passing (d. 2010 in Balto). I celebrate her genius. (And I honor Kevin Young and Michael Glaser for editing this volume.)

Here is one of her heretofore uncollected poems:


today we are possible.

the morning, green and laundry-sweet,
opens itself and we enter
blind and mewling.

everything waits for us:

the snow kingdom
sparking and silent
in its glacial c
Matthew Dickman (Poetry Editor): My favorite book I’ve read this month is The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton edited by Kevin Young and Michael S. Glaser (with an intro by Toni Morrison). To read this book is to know how love feels, it’s an experience of the heart and mind, of the beauty of language and the celebration of all that is human, including what hurts about being human. The book contains over 700 pages of poetry which is the right size for a poet who affected so many lives.
A delightful tour of one of our best poets. Clifton writes with a very spare line, at points moving toward the meditative. Her themes range from her youth when she was engaged by the civil rights struggle (and generally with echoes of the Black Art Movement), to her life as a woman and mother, to considerations on the life she lived. Reading through the collection one discovers the poet discovering herself and facing the various trials of her life. Many poems are profoundly heart-felt.
Mark Bruce
I think she s at her best in her wry poems on biblical figures and less so when she gets into her "ain't I a wonder" mode. Clearly an important voice in 20th century poetry, she is the godmother of Rita dove and the younger black female poets. At 700+ pages, this is a bit of a slog, but her vibrant good will and constant optimism bout the book.
I wasn't sure that I was going to read all of this 700 plus page book, but once I got started it was hard to quit. These poems are simple but elegant. They address issues common and rare. They have a well-developed sense of justice and I found them particulary inspiring and stimulating in a creative sense.
Jun 10, 2013 William added it
Shelves: poetry
The ability to make the terse line seem large and triumphant -- clarion call with the Dizzy Gillespe tight sonic punch and pure pow.

Just read her and hear her on her own terms ... she made the terms ... a hard thing to do for any writer.
Leslie Reese
I am not actually FINISHED reading this book.. It's too big, too much treasure, and I haven't been reading the pages chronologically. I just love her poetry very much.
Very lyrical poetry. This was a great study for me as a poet in rhythm and sound. I got through two of her early chapbooks and several uncollected poems.
Sep 11, 2012 Clay marked it as to-read
"What they call you is one thing.
What you answer to is something else."

One of my favorite poets and one of our best.
Kristine Pratt
There is something like listening to Jazz music in reading Lucille Clifton poetry.
love her work
Sam Haun
Sam Haun marked it as to-read
May 29, 2015
Emily is currently reading it
May 29, 2015
Allie marked it as to-read
May 27, 2015
Rochelle marked it as to-read
May 25, 2015
Jennifer Rumbach
Jennifer Rumbach marked it as to-read
May 23, 2015
Christina marked it as to-read
May 20, 2015
Katherine marked it as to-read
May 20, 2015
Helena marked it as to-read
May 18, 2015
Lauren Chapman
Lauren Chapman marked it as to-read
May 18, 2015
Mona Lisa
Mona Lisa marked it as to-read
May 17, 2015
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 16 17 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Head Off & Split
  • The 100 Best African American Poems
  • Thrall
  • Homegirls and Handgrenades
  • Duende
  • Of One Blood: Or, the Hidden Self: The Givens Collection
  • Daughters of the Dust
  • Daddy Was a Number Runner
  • Selected Poems
  • The Black Notebooks: An Interior Journey
  • Milk and Filth
  • Words of Fire: An Anthology of African-American Feminist Thought
  • Those Bones Are Not My Child
  • Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman
  • Poems 1962-2012
  • Her Blue Body Everything We Know: Earthling Poems 1965-1990 Complete
  • Nappy Hair
  • Daughter
Lucille Clifton was an American poet, writer, and educator from New York. Common topics in her poetry include the celebration of her African American heritage, and feminist themes, with particular emphasis on the female body.

She was the first person in her family to finish high school and attend college. She started Howard University on scholarship as a drama major but lost the scholarship two yea
More about Lucille Clifton...
Blessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems, 1988-2000 Good Woman: Poems and a Memoir 1969-1980 The Book of Light Quilting: Poems 1987-1990 Mercy

Share This Book