Lucille Clifton was born in Depew, New York, in 1936. She is the author of 13 poetry collections, including Good Times (1969), Two-Headed Woman (1980), and Blessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems 1988-2000 (2000), as well as 22 children’s books and one memoir. Clifton’s honors include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the American Academy of Poets, as well as a National Book Award, an Emmy Award from the American Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the Shelley Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America, the Ruth Lilly Prize from the Poetry Foundation, the Shestack Prize from the American Poetry Review, the Frost Medal from the Poetry Society of America, and the Coretta Scott King Award from the American Library Association. In addition, she was elected as a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets from 1999-2005, and as Poet Laureate of Maryland from 1979-1985. Before starting her career as a teacher, Clifton was a claims clerk in the New York State Division of Employment, Buffalo, and a literature assistant for the Central Atlantic Regional Educational Library in the Office of Education in Washington, D.C. Later on, she became a writer in residence at Coppin State College in Baltimore, Maryland, for three years, and a visiting writer at Columbia University School of the Arts for four years, as well as at George Washington University for over 10 years. From 1985-1989, she taught literature and creative writing at the University of California at Santa Cruz, and then at St. Mary’s College of Maryland as Distinguished Professor of Literature and Humanities for nearly 20 years. Lucille Clifton died in 2010.
Audio Recordings with Lucille Clifton
- Lucille Clifton reading her poems in the Recording Laboratory, May 17, 1972
- As part of Poetry in English at the Library of Congress, Lucille Clifton and Owen Dodson reading and discussing their poems in the Coolidge Auditorium, Mar. 26, 1973
- As part of Poetry in English at the Library of Congress, Lucille Clifton reading her poetry on November 30, 1989
- Eamon Grennan and Lucille Clifton reading their poems in the Montpelier Room, Library of Congress, Dec. 2, 1999
Webcasts with Lucille Clifton
- Lucille Clifton reads her poems for the Poet Vision series, 1988