Every now and then a poet comes along who is gifted in the art of story, song, image, gesture, and emotion… she is also a gift of a human being.
Lucille Clifton is such a poet and person; her special gifts make me sing, dance, and shout.
Just a few days ago, Ms. Lucille crossed over. Through her poetry and person, she brought truth, wisdom, wonder, joy, disturbance, sorrow, light, laughter, and so much more.
Gifted with a long stride of spirit, Lucille was compassionate, joyous, and comforting in the ways of grandmothers, aunties, mothers, and sistah-friends. A dozen or so years ago, I had the good fortune to meet Ms. Lucille. After one of her readings at the Dodge Poetry Festival, I introduced myself… and though there was a throng of folks waiting to speak with her, I might as well have been the only person there, because that’s how she made you feel.
Though Ms. Lucille has crossed over, the presences that inhabit her poems shall remain.
Lucille, whose name means light, was and is a beacon for those who hope to find their way through fog, for those who yearn to push away from the shoals, for those who dare to row into the depths. She was and is a keeper of the flame for this generation and future generations.
By her luminous presence and the quilt of presences in her body of work, Lucille will continue to remind us of what is true, human, and Divine.
Ms. Lucille, Sistah-Friend… thank you for your life and poems of hallelujahs and blues; thank you for showing us that blessed kinship between writing, and resurrection and redemption.