Poem to my uterus by Lucille Clifton (Friday Night Poetry Corner 195)

 

 

 

 

Welcome to a Black History Month Friday Night Poetry Corner—-

 

Lucille Clifton (June 27, 1936 in Depew, New York – February 13, 2010 in Baltimore, Maryland) was an American poet, writer, and educator from Buffalo, New York.  From 1979 to 1985 she was Poet Laureate of Maryland. Clifton was a finalist twice for the Pulitzer Prize for poetry.  Lucille Clifton (born Thelma Lucille Sayles, in Depew, New York) grew up in Buffalo, New York, and graduated from Fosdick-Masten Park High School in 1953.  She attended Howard University with a scholarship from 1953 to 1955, leaving to study at the State University of New York at Fredonia (near Buffalo).

In 1958, Lucille Sayles married Fred James Clifton, a professor of philosophy at the University at Buffalo, and a sculptor whose carvings depicted African faces. Lucille and her husband had six children together, which included four daughters (Sidney, Fredrica, Gillian, and Alexia) and two sons (Channing and Graham). Lucille worked as a claims clerk in the New York State Division of Employment, Buffalo (1958–60), and as literature assistant in the Office of Education in Washington, D.C. (1960–71). Writer Ishmael Reed introduced Lucille to Clifton while he was organizing the Buffalo Community Drama Workshop. Fred and Lucille Clifton starred in the group’s version of The Glass Menagerie, which was called “poetic and sensitive” by the Buffalo Evening News.

In 1966, Reed took some of Clifton’s poems to Langston Hughes, who included them in his anthology The Poetry of the Negro. In 1967, the Cliftons moved to Baltimore, Maryland.  Her first poetry collection, Good Times, was published in 1969, and listed by The New York Times as one of the year’s ten best books. From 1971 to 1974, Clifton was poet-in-residence at Coppin State College in Baltimore. From 1979 to 1985, she was Poet Laureate of the state of Maryland.  From 1982 to 1983, she was visiting writer at the Columbia University School of the Arts and at George Washington University. In 1984, her husband died of cancer.

From 1985 to 1989, Clifton was a professor of literature and creative writing at the University of California, Santa Cruz.  She was Distinguished Professor of Humanities at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. From 1995 to 1999, she was a visiting professor at Columbia University. In 2006, she was a fellow at Dartmouth College.

 

 

Poem to my uterus

 

You uterus
you have been patient
as a sock
while i have slippered into you
my dead and living children
now
they want to cut you out
stocking i will not need
where i am going
where am i going
old girl
without you
uterus
my bloody print
my estrogen kitchen
my black bag of desire
where can i go
barefoot
without you
where can you go
without me
Lucille Clifton

12 thoughts on “Poem to my uterus by Lucille Clifton (Friday Night Poetry Corner 195)

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