Poetry Monday–two from Lucille

imagesI know it’s Tuesday again, but I was in an anti-poetry mood yesterday, wandering through my friends’ extensive library and not liking anything I read. We poets are a pretentious bunch! Then I thought about Lucille Clifton. I was lucky to have worked with her two different years at Squaw Valley. Although I knew her only slightly, she was one of those people who make a big impression. I watched her deftly improve poems, encourage without over praising, and say things like, “the house of poetry has many rooms.” Her own poems are usually short, accessible, and powerful like these samples. They are not all about being a woman, or black, but they all have wit and a big heart. Lucille didn’t capitalize much, and was sparing in punctuation. When asked about it by one of the students she said that was just how it came to her:

to my last period

well, girl, goodbye,
after thirty-eight years.
thirty-eight years and you
never arrived
splendid in your red dress
without trouble for me
somewhere, somehow. Continue reading “Poetry Monday–two from Lucille”