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Mercy (American Poets Continuum) [Paperback]

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Item description for Mercy (American Poets Continuum) by Lucille Clifton...

Lucille Clifton's poetry carries her deep concerns for the world's children, the stratification of American society, those people lost or forgotten amid the crushing race of Western materialism and technology. In turns sad, troubled and angry, her voice has always been one of great empathy, knowing, as she says, "the only mercy is memory." In this, her 12th book of poetry, the National Book Award-winner speaks to the tenuous relationship between mothers and daughters, the debilitating power of cancer, the open wound of racial prejudice, the redemptive gift of story-telling. "September Song," a sequence of seven poems, featured on National Public Radio, presents a modern-day Orpheus who, through her grief, attempts to heart-intelligently respond to the events of September 11th. The last sequence of poems-a tightly-woven fabric of caveats and prayers-was initially written in the 1970s, then revised and reshaped in the last few years.

Lucille Clifton is an award-winning poet, fiction writer and author of children's books. Her most recent poetry book, Blessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems 19691999 (BOA), won the 2000 National Book Award for Poetry. Two of Clifton's BOA poetry collections, Good Woman: Poems and a Memoir 19691980 and Next: New Poems, were chosen as finalists for the Pulitzer Prize in 1988, while Clifton's The Terrible Stories (BOA) was a finalist for the 1996 National Book Award. Clifton has received fellowships from the NEA, an Emmy Award from the American Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the Shelley Memorial Prize and the Charity Randall Citation. She is a Distinguished Professor of Humanities as St. Mary's College in Maryland. She was appointed a Fellow of The American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and elected as Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets in 1999. She lives in Columbia, MD.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   79
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.25" Width: 6" Height: 9"
Weight:   0.3 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Sep 1, 2004
Publisher   BOA Editions Ltd.
ISBN  1929918550  
ISBN13  9781929918553  

Availability  0 units.

More About Lucille Clifton

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Lucille Clifton, poet, storyteller, college professor, mother of six and a grandmother, is the author of many books for young readers. Seven of her picture books with Henry Holt feature Everett Anderson, including "Everett Anderson's Goodbye" (a Coretta Scott King Award winner), "Everett Anderson's Nine Month Long," and "Everett Anderson's Christmas Coming."

Ms. Clifton lives in Maryland.

Ann Grifalconi, a native New Yorker, is the author and illustrator of "The Village of Round and Square Houses" and "Darkness and the Butterfly." As an illustrator, she has collaborated with many writers on several picture books, including five Everett Anderson titles.

Lucille Clifton was born in 1936 and died in 2010.

Lucille Clifton has published or released items in the following series...

  1. American Poets Continuum

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Authors, A-Z > ( C ) > Clifton, Lucille
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Poetry > General
3Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > World Literature > United States > African American > Clifton, Lucille
4Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > World Literature > United States > Poetry > African American

Reviews - What do customers think about Mercy (American Poets Continuum)?

Wonderful Poetry, Amazing Sentiment. Must Read!  Feb 8, 2005
Lucille Clifton has been writing poetry since the 60s. Her poems have ranged from the monumental to the everyday, but her progression as a poet has been unfettered. She is a national treasure. There are some very interesting poems in this volume.

"September Song" is bound to draw interest, 7 poems marking the days from the September 11th terrorist attack. Clifton's treatment is unflappable. She dares us to question everything about the experience, from our fears to our subsequent reactions. She is more than unabashedly political in her views, she is also honest.

Other poems like "on dying" do recall Dickinson. The poem gives you a sense of resolution, not of loss. It's a beautiful treatment that ties in well with other poems about the mortality of being diagnosed with cancer and the surreal experience of being outside your own body.

And Clifton has never shied from treatments of race either. But she goes deeper than just race and looks at the concepts of division.

"the river between us" is used to juxtapose the confident self reliant man who fishes the river and the god-fearing man who goes to the river seeking salvation and calling for help from above. It's a powerful statement and a testament to her range and skill.

If minimalism is your benchmark for exceptional poetry, few have a better mastery than Lucille Clifton.

At times this seems like several books of poetry back to back. There are some sequences that require you to change gears very quickly.

Still this is a wonderful book of poetry, which is highly recommended.


First Rate   Dec 25, 2004
Once again, Lucille Cliftton testifies magnificently to the fullness of a life lived with all it's heartaches, triumphs and lasting understanding.

In plaintive and beautifully sparse and simple language she transports the reader into her world with all its soulfulness and quiet reflection. Wonderful.
The Triumph of Clifton's "Mercy"  Oct 16, 2004
"Mercy" is an exquisite, transcendent collection of poetry. Lucille Clifton has always written sophisticated, fearless poems that reveal the omnipresent terrors and singular triumphs of human existence. These poems are as clear, direct and beautiful as ever Clifton has written; they speak again and again to the pain that tears open our lives -- and the grace of love that can save us a little, maybe even enough.

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