[caption id="attachment_2162" align="alignleft" width="200"] Photo by Rachel Eliza Griffiths[/caption] One of the amazing parts of publishing The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton 1965-2010 has been seeing how many lives she touched – deeply, indelibly – throughout her career. In many ways, Lucille was the rarest of poetry birds: a poet respected by her peers, but also beloved by readers across the world. Ever since word got out about the publication of her Collected, people have reached out to BOA to share their enthusiasm for her poetry and their stories (often as humorous as they are touching) about encounters with Lucille. For those reasons, each gathering in celebration of Lucille Clifton has felt like a family reunion with strangers suddenly joined together by their love for this remarkable poet. Blessing the Boats: A Tribute to Lucille Clifton was no exception. Held on February 21 at CUNY’s Proshansky Auditorium in New York City, the tribute featured a staggering array of literary lights reading their favorite Lucille poems. Listening to Sherman Alexie, Tina Chang, Toi Derricotte, Michael Dickman, Timothy Donnelly, Cornelius Eady, Thomas Sayers Ellis, Nick Flynn, Tonya Foster, Rachel Eliza Griffiths, Marie Howe, Dante Micheaux, Sharon Olds, and Tracy K. Smith read poems from The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton 1965-2010 was a revelation; each reader offered their own interpretation, their own emphasis, their own spin on these timeless poems. A heartfelt introduction by the Collected’s co-editor Michael S. Glaser and interludes by mezzo-soprano Alicia Hall Moran, performing her musical interpretations of the poems, added to the celebratory air of the evening. The event was sponsored by no fewer than seven different organizations (each with their own unique connection to Lucille Clifton): The Center for the Humanities at The Graduate Center; CUNY; the Academy of American Poets; BOA Editions; Cave Canem Foundation; CUNY Hunter; and Poets House. Now, this remarkable evening is available for your viewing. Welcome to the family reunion… Click here to watch a video of the event.
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