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The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton 1965-2010

4.59  ·  Rating Details ·  171 Ratings  ·  25 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.
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Community Reviews

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Aug 12, 2013 Michael rated it it was amazing
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
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.
Sep 30, 2012 Ann rated it it was amazing
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
Patrick Mcgee
Dec 16, 2014 Patrick Mcgee rated it it was amazing
Might have taken me a bit to get through Lucille's collected works, but I kept coming back to her all the same. There's a familiarity here that's hard to articulate, but also resonates as you read each poem. Like all the greats, her poems are a search for meaning while at the same time helping those that read each line find some meaning themselves.
Oct 06, 2012 Kim rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, poetry, favot
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
May 05, 2013 Grady McCallie rated it really liked it
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
Zaynab Shahar
Every unpublished poem in this collection is a gift. If you have only ever read blessings on the boat and the book of light, this collection of poetry allows readers to gain greater insight into the mind of Lucille Clifton as a poet. Her mini collections of poetry about chinese zen oxen, 9/11 and the days immediately following, elegies to dead family members and friends, and many more subjects are touching as well as thought provoking. Most interesting to this collection is watching the progress ...more
Nov 17, 2012 James rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry

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
Nov 10, 2012 Kitty rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 05, 2015 Gina rated it really liked it
Lucille Clifton was a Jeopardy champion.

I learned that reading information about her at the end. I was pleasantly surprised, but it also made sense. Her poems are full of references to literature, mythology, the Bible, and history; she would know information in a lot of categories.

In that way she reminded me of Countee Cullen, whose poetry was greatly influenced by his classical education. She is fully her own entity though, writing in modern free verse, and making very personal poems about fami
Mar 12, 2013 TinHouseBooks rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-we-love
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.
Aug 27, 2013 William rated it it was amazing
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.
Feb 11, 2013 Leonard rated it it was amazing
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.
Feb 07, 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
Sep 23, 2012 Leslie Reese rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, poetry
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.
Dec 30, 2012 Mirinda rated it it was amazing
Kristine Hansen
Nov 02, 2012 Kristine Hansen rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
There is something like listening to Jazz music in reading Lucille Clifton poetry.
Doris Raines
Apr 15, 2016 Doris Raines rated it it was amazing
Shelves: doris-shelf
A. Book. To. Remember .
Jun 16, 2014 Cat rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-poetry
Dec 08, 2015 Fabiola rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
i strongly recommend -- wonderful poems, filled this book and nights before going to bed.
ben adam
Mar 08, 2017 ben adam rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
This is a book that I am proud to have finished. It is the words of an incredible woman who possessed a deep spiritual power and grace. She was truly a spectacular author.
Alison P
Jun 08, 2016 Alison P rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Wonderful book of poetry.
My favorites:
miss rosie
willie b (1)
buffalo war
apology (to the panthers)
wise: having the ability to perceive and adopt the best means for accomplishing an end.
come home from the movies ...
the lesson of the falling leaves
she is dreaming
homage to my hips
what the mirror said
there is a girl inside ...
february 13, 1980
to the unborn and waiting children
the once and future dead ...
atlantic is a sea of bones ...
to my last period
wishes for sons
Sep 07, 2016 gnarlyhiker rated it it was amazing
Mark Bruce
Mar 28, 2013 Mark Bruce rated it liked it
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.
Katherine Bishop
Katherine Bishop rated it it was amazing
May 09, 2015
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Oct 27, 2016
Sonia Allison
Sonia Allison rated it it was amazing
Sep 11, 2015
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May 05, 2014
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Oct 02, 2014
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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...

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