September 06, 2012
Kevin Young Reveals "The Good Word" of Lucille Clifton!
When it comes to having the right words, Kevin Young says that we need not look any further than Lucille Clifton. As co-editor of The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton 1965-2010, Young had the opportunity to explore the deeper layers of Ms. Clifton’s poems. In a Baltimore Magazine exclusive interview, he says: “Seeing Lucille Clifton’s work all together, I was amazed at the sheer breadth of it—both in terms of how much work she made, but also the ways in which it all adds up to something greater. I knew this instinctively, but it’s another thing to read so much Clifton: it has the weight of what I call in my Afterword ‘an intimate epic.’ I hope readers might have a similar experience of discovery. Personally, I found it inspiring to see how Clifton persevered as a poet–not to mention her work as a children’s writer. I was struck too to see how terrific her unpublished early work is…”
When asked what he thinks is the “kernel of truth” in the landmark collection, Young replies: “I don’t think there’s just a kernel–there’s a whole busload of truth in Clifton’s work… I think Clifton’s readers are so devoted to her because of her willingness to say things others can’t, don’t, or won’t; for her bravery and her humor.” He describes Ms. Clifton’s work as “personal, vernacular, political, playful, and ultimately concerned with justice.”
Young learns a new lesson every time he reads these poems. Chances are, with a poet as powerful as Ms. Clifton, you will, too.
You can purchase advanced-copies of The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton 1965-2010 today! Find out for yourself why Kevin Young feels inspired long after he closes the book.
“Lucille, after all, means ‘light.’”
Image courtesy of chronicle.com