Posts Tagged ‘lucille clifton’

Lucille Clifton (1936-2010)

i am accused of tending to the past
as if i made it,
as if i sculpted it
with my own hands. i did not.
this past was waiting for me
when i came,
a monstrous unnamed baby,
and i with my mother’s itch
took it to breast
and named it
History.
she is more human now,
learning languages everyday,
remembering faces, names and dates.
when she is strong enough to travel
on her own, beware, she will.


– Lucille Clifton

(Quilting, 1991)

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Lucille Clifton’s poetry is marvelous for so many reasons, but I’ve always admired her dynamic range, the way she could craft the playful “Homage to My Hips” in one verse and the deep philosophical questioning of “slaveship” in another, all the while remaining grounded in the loving affirmations of a communal self. Carleen honors Clifton’s life with “New Bones”; Susan has a video clip of “Won’t You Celebrate With Me”; Tayari Jones remembers the poet with “here rests”; and a year ago, Consuela listed “Homage to My Hips” as one of the Black Things We Love.

Lost & Found: Be Giving

begivingmid

"Be Giving" by Kadir Nelson

A few links, images, and other online ephemera from our favorite sites this past week:

  • Have you seen Kadir Nelson’s remarkable illustrations for Coke’s Black History Month promotion? The image above highlights the theme, “Be Giving,” and I love the expression on the woman’s face, the detail in her cupped hands, and the nod to Aaron Douglas in the picture on her clothes.
  • Have you read Danielle Belton’s powerful essay, “On Little Black Girls, Beauty, and Barbie Dolls” at The Black Snob? Inspired by Malia and Sasha Obama, it is heartfelt and ends with a call to action. Read it along with Rebecca Walker’s thought-provoking piece on “The Making of Man” for Newsweek about President Obama’s “enlightened masculinity.”

And, an off-topic plea for help: My darling two-year-old daughter is afraid of monsters and has not slept through the night in weeks. Any suggestions?!?! We’ve tried night lights, talismans, and every ritual dance you can imagine. We’ve ignored the monsters, gotten angry with them, and playfully coaxed them out the front door.  As to where she learned about monsters as “scary” (as opposed to the friendly Sesame Street variety), I’m at a loss. When does this phase pass? These days the only monster in our house is me.

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