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Lucille Clifton

  • The end of a thing, / is never the end, / something is always being born like / a year or a baby.

    • Lucille Clifton,
    • "December," Everett Anderson's Year ()
  • we have always loved each other / children all ways / pass it on.

    • Lucille Clifton,
    • "listen children," Good News About the Earth ()
  • ... in the days where daddy was / there is a space.

    • Lucille Clifton,
    • "Daddy," Good News About the Earth ()
  • i keep knowing / the language of other nations. / i keep hearing / tree talk / water words / and i keep knowing what they mean.

    • Lucille Clifton,
    • "Breaklight," An Ordinary Woman ()
  • i had expected more than this. / i had not expected to be / an ordinary woman.

    • Lucille Clifton,
    • title poem, An Ordinary Woman ()
  • Turning into my own / turning on into my own self at last.

    • Lucille Clifton,
    • "Turning," An Ordinary Woman ()
  • 'Oh, slavery, slavery,' my Daddy would say. 'It ain't something in a book, Lue. Even the good parts was awful.'

  • ... my life as a human only includes my life as a poet, it doesn't depend on it.

    • Lucille Clifton,
    • in Mari Evans, ed., Black Women Writers 1950-1980 ()
  • I have always known that being very poor, which we were, had nothing to do with lovingness or familyness, or character or any of that ... We were quite clear that what we didn't have didn't have anything to do with what we were.

    • Lucille Clifton,
    • in Mari Evans, ed., Black Women Writers 1950-1980 ()
  • they ask me to remember / but they want me to remember / their memories / and I keep on remembering / mine.

    • Lucille Clifton,
    • "Why Some People Be Mad at Me Sometimes," Next ()
  • People wish to be poets more than they wish to write poetry, and that's a mistake. One should wish to celebrate more than one wishes to be celebrated.

    • Lucille Clifton,
    • in Poets & Writers Magazine ()
  • I don't go get a poem. It calls me and I accept it.

    • Lucille Clifton,
    • in Christine A. Sikorski, "An Interview With Lucille Clifton," A View From the Loft ()
  • Intellect doesn't translate across cultures; intuition does.

    • Lucille Clifton,
    • in Christine A. Sikorski, "An Interview With Lucille Clifton," A View From the Loft ()
  • One of the hardest lessons I ever had to learn was that I couldn't protect my children from their own lives.

    • Lucille Clifton,
    • in Beth Benatovich, ed., What We Know So Far ()
  • All people, even one's own children, come with baggage. When they're little, you have to help them carry it. But when they grow up, you have to do that difficult thing of setting their baggage down and taking up your own again.

    • Lucille Clifton,
    • in Beth Benatovich, ed., What We Know So Far ()
  • You cannot play for safety and make art.

    • Lucille Clifton,
    • in Riverbank Review ()
  • ... telling the truth about children's lives is radical.

    • Lucille Clifton,
    • in Riverbank Review ()
  • In the bigger scheme of things the universe is not asking us to do something, the universe is asking us to be something. And that's a whole different thing.

    • Lucille Clifton
  • these hips are big hips / ... / they don't like to be held back. / these hips have never been enslaved, / they go where they want to go / they do what they want to do. / these hips are mighty hips. / these hips are magic hips.

    • Lucille Clifton,
    • "homage to my hips," Two-Headed Woman ()

Lucille Clifton, U.S. poet, children's writer

(1938 - 2009)

Full name: Lucille Sayles Clifton.