Lucille Clifton New Audio

Poet Lucille Clifton, who died in February at the age of 73, made a special visit to a classroom at the New School, taught by Pearl London, on May 3, 1983.  She brought in manuscripts to poems she’d been writing, including “chemotherapy” and “the thirty eighth year,” and during her amazing session with students she spoke with empathy and elegy about her family growing up, her writing at present, and the poetic process in general.  This previously unknown conversation has been transcribed and appears in Poetry in Person: 25 Years of Conversation with America’s poets, newly released by Knopf (March 2010).  In one audio clip from her visit, posted here on Knopf’s website, she can be heard speaking of her life as an ordinary kind of extraordinary woman; and in another clip she reads and speaks about her poem, “the thirty eighth year”.

Clifton was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry for two different books in the same year (1988)—the first poet ever so honored.  She won the National Book Award (2000).

On the Ordinary / Extraordinary:

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On "the thirty eighth year"

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