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Kazim Ali on Lucille Clifton's Prosodic Line

[caption id="attachment_691" align="alignleft" width="123" caption="Kazim Ali. BOA poet."]Kazim Ali. BOA poet.[/caption] BOA poet Kazim Ali (The Fortieth Day) has written an illuminating essay on the poetics of Lucille Clifton. The essay first appeared in Barn Owl Review and is now posted in its entirety at Delirious Hem. It will also appear in Kazim's upcoming book, Orange Alert: Essays on Poetry, Art and the Architecture of Silence, which is forthcoming from University of Michigan Press.
The essay begins: "Lucille Clifton is known as a poet of simple and clear diction, informed by trickster sensibility, and is as facile with the cadences of King James as she is with Black vernacular. Though she is often seen as a prophet-figure taking Blakean dictation, her poems are marked not only by spiritual gravity but by the humbler attentions of a working poet utilizing the various tools of poetic craft. Clifton has often discussed her roots as a poet in poetic form. Her mother Thelma used to write poetry in iambic pentameter and would go so far as to criticize young Lucille’s poetic attempts (in free verse) saying, “Oh honey, that ain’t a poem” . Clifton also cites Yeats, Aiken, and Sanchez—another poet who marries colloquial oral speech to received form and poetic meters—as influences." Click here to read the rest of [adam and his mother: Lucille Clifton's Prosodic Line]
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