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Lucille Clifton dies at Age 73

08 Lucille Clifton The Board of Directors, staff and poets of BOA Editions, Ltd. are greatly saddened to report the death of longtime BOA poet Lucille Clifton. Lucille passed away Saturday morning February 13 at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore at age 73. Lucille had been ill for quite some time, but the exact cause of her death is still uncertain. Lucille was one of the great voices in world poetry, and a wonderful human being. We will miss her tremendously. The BOA Editions family sends our condolences to her sister, three daughters, son, and three grandchildren. A list of Lucille’s BOA poetry books follows, including Blessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems, 1988 – 2000, for which she won The National Book Award for Poetry. Blessing the Boats Good Woman Mercy Next Quilting The Terrible Stories Voices

1 comment

  • I was heartbroken to learn that Lucille Clifton had died. I still remember the thrill of pleasure I got when I read her poems for the first time. They were musical, audacious, funny, direct. The pleasure grew and deepened over time. Her visit to Memphis State while I was teaching there was one of the highlights of my time
    there, and only added to my respect for her as a person and a poet.
    She had such stature and presence—both physically and psychologically. She seemed absolutely comfortable in her own self and own skin, which allowed her to be open to people and at the same time not suffer fools gladly. When one of my most racist and sexist colleagues asked her, foolishly, if she went along with “all this politically correct stuff,” she drew herself up (she could do that, even though we were seated for dinner), looked him in the eye, and said, “Well of course it’s not a question of what’s politically correct, is it, but what’s morally correct.” That subdued him for the rest of the evening. Her reading was a joy, full of intelligence, emotion, and generosity. We invited her to read at the University of Connecticut when I was teaching there last year, but she declined on the grounds of poor health. Even so, it never occurred to me that I wouldn’t have another chance to see her and hear her read. I’m so grateful to have her poems, and to have vivid images of her presence to carry with me.

    Sharon Bryan

    Sharon Bryan on

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