Won't you celebrate with me

Lucille Clifton. Image from NPR.org.

Lucille Clifton. Image from NPR.org.

A quick lesson that I have learned in a few days of aiming to introduce readers to a new poem each day is that I am just as fascinated with the poet and his/her life as I am with the poem.  Today's poem is by Lucille Clifton who has had a fascinating life.  So, I will post less often and gather as much information that is available in the public domain as I can about the poet.  Won't you celebrate with me is a celebration of strength and womanhood and the struggles of African American women. 

Won’t you celebrate with me

By Lucille Clifton

won’t you celebrate with me
what i have shaped into
a kind of life? i had no model.
born in babylon
both nonwhite and woman
what did i see to be except myself?
i made it up
here on this bridge between
starshine and clay,
my one hand holding tight
my other hand; come celebrate
with me that everyday
something has tried to kill me
and has failed.

Poets.org is a wonderful online resource for information about your favorite poet/poem. Please read more about the fascinating life of Ms. Clifton here: https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poet/lucille-clifton. Of note, she became a writer in residence at Coppin State College in Baltimore, Maryland, where she completed two collections: Good News About the Earth (Random House, 1972) and An Ordinary Woman (Random House, 1974).  She was the author ofseveral other collections of poetry, including Blessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems 1988–2000 (BOA Editions, 2000), which won the National Book Award; Good Woman: Poems and a Memoir 1969-1980 (BOA Editions, 1987), which was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize; and Two-Headed Woman (University of Massachusetts Press, 1980), also a Pulitzer Prize nominee as well as the recipient of the University of Massachusetts Press Juniper Prize.  She also authored more than sixteen books for children.

Her honors include an Emmy Award from the American Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, a Lannan Literary Award, two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Shelley Memorial Award, the YM-YWHA Poetry Center Discovery Award, and the 2007 Ruth Lilly Prize.

In 1999, she was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. She served as Poet Laureate for the State of Maryland from 1979 to 1985, and Distinguished Professor of Humanities at St. Mary’s College of Maryland.

A tribute to Ms. Clifton from NPR. Ms. Clifton passed away in 2010.