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Clifton Exhibits: Making Her Essence Tangible

Exhibits for Lucille Clifton's works are now open at Emory University, the same place that houses her literary and personal papers, her private library of  literary manuscripts (poems, short stories, essays, interviews, book reviews, translations of poems, speeches), correspondences, teaching files, files related to organizations with which she was associated, photographs, audiovisual material, and even the papers of Ms. Clifton's husband Fred Clifton.  According to Writing Without Paper, Ms. Clifton's "spirit writings" are of particular interest. These are her "written communications with the spirit world," including Ms. Clifton's "explanations and descriptions of her channelings and transcriptions of poems 'passed' to Clifton from poets in the spirit world." Since Ms. Clifton's work is so expansive, the exhibition is actually split into two parts; the first of which is titled "come celebrate with me: The Work of Lucille Clifton," and the second, "She Sang So Sweet: Lucille Clifton's Children's Literature." Within these exhibits, fans find limited edition books, poems ranging from 1950-2010, and even personal "previously unseen" photographs. The Children's Literature exhibit features Ms. Clifton's first children's books, as well as the unpublished collection of her "Jump-Rope Rhymes." As a bonus to an already priceless gift, the last poem ever penned by Ms. Clifton "In the Middle of the Eye," will be on display--in her own handwriting. Open since August 28, these exhibits can be found in the MARBL (Manuscript, Archive, and Rare Book Library) Gallery of the Robert W. Woodruff Library at Emory University. Advanced-copies of The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton 1965-2010 are available now at the BOA Bookstore! Never before has the essence of Ms. Clifton been so tangible. Image courtesy of


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