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Saturday, June 18, 2022

'It's a matter of life'


“Poetry is a matter of life, not just a matter of language.” – Lucille Clifton

Born in June, 1936 near Buffalo, NY, Clifton both studied and lived in Washington, DC, before settling in her adopted Maryland where from 1979–1985 she was the state’s Poet Laureate. Common topics in her poetry include the celebration of her African American heritage, and feminist themes, but she also is a powerful portrayer of daily life in the city and the home.

Her first poetry collection Good Times was published in 1969, and was an instant success, listed by The New York Times as one of the year's 10 best books.  She expanded her writing and was invited to be poet-in-residence at Coppin State College in Baltimore in the early ‘70s, setting a successful path on a writing and teaching career. 
Lucille Clifton

On this Juneteenth celebration and for saturday’s poem, here is Clifton's,


I am accused



                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
                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.



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