Tag Archives: Lucille Clifton

Trump, Lucille Clifton, & Menstruation

Donald Trump assumed that Fox’s Megyn Kelly was menstruating when she aggressively asked him questions. Aside from his sexism, we should listen to Lucille Clifton, who points out how impressively women function even when they are having their periods.

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Detecting the Person behind the Poetry

What we find when we look for the person behind the literary work.

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Poetry that Reclaims Women’s Bodies

A former student, in her senior project, used feminist poems as the basis for art workshops designed to help women feel better about their bodies.

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The Making of a Literary Meal

A new anthology of “foodie lit” has recipes accompanying the poems, essays, and short stories.

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A Fatal Diagnosis, an Almost Ghost

A good friend has just been diagnosed with stage four ovarian cancer, putting me in mind of a poem by Lucille Clifton when she learned of her husband’s lung cancer diagnosis.

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Murphy: Something Funny in Everything

Eddie Murphy, who as a young comedian helped saved Saturday Night, returned for the shows 40th celebration. A Lucille Clifton poem draws an interesting distinction between him and Richard Pryor.

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Clifton Brings Black History Alive

Lucille Clifton insists on the telling the historical truth, even if it makes whites uncomfortable.

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Against Race Oppression, Turn to Love

While some of Lucille Clifton’s race poems have an edge, in the end she always comes back to love.

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Grendel in Paris

As with other mass killings, “Beowulf” has lessons for the Paris massacre. Defoe and Rabelais, meanwhile, give us insight in the targeted satirical journal “Charlie Hebdo.”

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The Peace of Wild Things

My Intro to Literature class explored how a disconnect from nature leads to existential anguish while opening themselves up to nature provides spiritual nourishment.

Posted in Berry (Wendell), Clifton (Lucille), Coleridge (Samuel Taylor), Euripides, Kingsolver (Barbara), McCarthy (Cormac), Oliver (Mary), Shakespeare (William), Silko (Leslie Marmon), Sir Gawain Poet, Wordsworth (William) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sexual Misconduct in the Classics

A sexual misconduct course required of all employees got me thinking of problematic situations in the books that I teach.

Posted in Austen (Jane), Behn (Aphra), Bronte (Charlotte), Burney (Fanny), Euripides, Fielding (Henry), Montagu (Lady Mary Wortley), Sir Gawain Poet, Wilmot (John) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Jordan River Continues to Inspire

The River Jordan, an inspiring image for American slaves, has worked it was into contemporary African American poems, including those of Lucille Clifton.

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Rituals of Commencement

Robert Creeley’s graduation poem captures both the predictability and the unpredictability of young people going forth into the world.

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For Sterling, Waves Came Crashing In

Collective player anger may have led to the NBA’s harsh punishment for Clippers owner Don Sterling. Lucille Clifton has a poem about the power of collective black action.

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the dance of Jesus music holds the air

These Lucille Clifton poems usher us from Lent into Easter.

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Looking Back to a Time When Hope Waved

Lucille Clifton’s poem on looks back to a time of hope–before the Kennedy assassination.

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Two Parables Involving Falling Leaves

Scott Bates and Lucille Clifton find poetic lessons in falling leaves.

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Using Lucille Clifton to Defend the Arts

There’s a decline in English majors at elite universities. We use a Lucille Clifton poem to respond.

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Keeping the Civil Rights Dream Alive

Great Civil Rights moments are great. Movements are better.

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Poetry in the Commencement Ceremony

Our Commencement was jolted by a reading of Martin Espada’s “Imagine the Angels of Bread.”

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Answer the Door, the Truth Is Knocking

Willa Cather and Lucille Clifton were quoted in our end-of-the-year awards ceremony last week.

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Lessons of a Bird Killed by a Window

Encountering a dead bird outside my window, I recalled a Lucille Clifton poem on the subject that draws a powerful social message.

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It Is Your Own Lush Self You Hunger For

In her Garden of Eden poems, Lucille Clifton sees heaven as a stifling morality that both Eve and Satan are trying to break through. Apples in this drama are symbols of female sensuality.

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Leadership 101: Grade Obama

Andrew Sullivan says that we should not look for a savior in gay rights issues because, in America, “we save ourselves.” The sentiment also appears in a Lucille Clifton poem that appeared following the assassination of Martin Luther King.

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Golf Suddenly Seems Green Again

Something happened in the course of the recent U. S. Open tournament. Lucille Clifton’s poem is about the “damn wonder” of renewal, and golf is catching a whiff of something fresh in the boy-faced Rory McIlroy.

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The Green of Jesus Is Breaking the Ground

According to the church calendar, we are still in the Easter season,and the hope of the resurrection continues to be mirrored in beautiful May days. Lucille Clifton intermingles the spirituality of religion and the sensuality of life as well as any poet I know. Here’s a poem in her Jesus series. As far as she’s concerned, there’s no conflict between religious ecstasy and the sights and sounds of spring or the wonderful smells emanating from people’s kitchens and the music from their radios.

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Answer the Door, Child–Truth is Knocking

We had our major awards ceremony this past Saturday. As is tradition, we began with a poem by Lucille Clifton that she allowed us to adapt slightly for the occasion.Our president then gave one of his patented speeches, this one centered on Plato’s Meno. It was exactly what I wanted our students to hear: a full-blown defense of the liberal arts.

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Blaming Loved Ones in the Face of Death

Edvard Munch, The Sick Child  Imagine the following situation. A couple has been married for decades but now he has contracted a terminal illness and is dying. His wife has always prided herself on being there for him when he needed her, but now she feels helpless. Meanwhile he is scared and angry and is […]

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Rising Again to Dance

Chidi Okoye (Nigeria)  Spiritual Sunday I refute Berkeley thus, Samuel Johnson famously said. And kicked a rock. Bishop Berkeley was the 18th century idealist philosopher who asked how we know reality is really there if we are dependent upon our senses for perceiving it. Is the rock in existence when we turn our backs? Johnson’s […]

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Children Commence, Parents Let Go

Flowers for Justin This past Saturday St. Mary’s College held its graduation and, as always, it was a time of good-byes. Good-byes are the theme of today’s post. One good-bye was to poet Lucille Clifton, a former member of the faculty whose poem “blessing the boats (at St. Mary’s)” has become a regular part of […]

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Jackie Robinson, Poetry in Motion

Jackie Robinson steals home  Sports Saturday In the memorial service held at St. Mary’s College for Lucille Clifton two weeks ago, I learned that she had three special heroes: Martin Luther King, Muhammad Ali, and Jackie Robinson. Robinson, of course, was the African American player who broke the baseball color line in 1947, which he […]

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