Blessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems, 1988-2000

( 3 )

Overview

Winner of the 2000 National Book Award for Poetry, Blessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems 1988-2000 is the culminating achievement of Lucille's Clifton longstanding poetry career.

This long-awaited collection by one of the most distinguished poets writing today includes poems written during the past four years as well as generous selections from Lucille Clifton's award-winning collections Next: New Poems, Quilting and The Terrible Stories....
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Overview

Winner of the 2000 National Book Award for Poetry, Blessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems 1988-2000 is the culminating achievement of Lucille's Clifton longstanding poetry career.

This long-awaited collection by one of the most distinguished poets writing today includes poems written during the past four years as well as generous selections from Lucille Clifton's award-winning collections Next: New Poems, Quilting and The Terrible Stories. Clifton employs brilliantly honed language, stunning images and sharp rhythms to address the whole of human experience. Hers is a poetry that is passionate and wise, not afraid to confront our most salient issues.

donor
to lex

when they tell me that my body

might reject

i think of thirty years ago

and the hangers i shoved inside

hard trying not to have you.

i think of the pills, the everything

i gathered against your

inconvenient bulge; and you

my stubborn baby child,

hunched there in the dark

refusing my refusal.

suppose my body does say no

to yours. again, again i feel you

buckled in despite me, lex,

fastened to life like the frown

on an angel's brow.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Culling from her last four books and including 19 new poems, Clifton's latest offers few surprises, but all of the joys and straight-talk readers have come to expect over 40 or so years of work. Proceeding chronologically, poems from next retell "my dream about the cows," "my dream about being white" and "the message of thelma sayles," among other poems and modes. Quilting juxtaposes updatings of Eden with poems on menstruation, and with, among others, the title poem: "may the tide/ that is entering even now/ the lip of our understanding/ carry you out." the book of light features three Leda poems ("sometimes another star chooses./ the ones coming in from the east/ are dagger-fingered men") and the seven-part serial stock-taking "far memory," while The Terrible Stories tell of "the coming of the fox" (in several poems) and wait for "something human." New poems chart the aftermath of cancer and kidney failure, speak in the voice of the murdered James Byrd Jr. and "study the masters" ("like my aunt timmie"). While the use of lowercase throughout seems less-than-always apt, Clifton's idiom is unmistakable, well beyond her quip some years ago--"I am a Black woman poet, and I sound like one." A companion to Good Woman: Poems and a Memoir 1969-1980, this collection distills a distinctive American voice, one that pulls no punches in taking on the best and worst of life. (Apr.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Library Journal
Clifton's poems owe a great deal to oral tradition. Her work is wonderfully musical and benefits greatly from being read aloud: "It is hard to remain human on a day/ when birds perch weeping/ in the trees and the squirrel eyes/ do not look away but the dog ones do/ in pity." Her keen sense of rhythm, of the sound, tone, and texture of words, is delightful, a rare find in this day and age. The language is crystal clear and deceptively accessible. The poems are personal, but the distant thunder of history rumbles behind every line. As she says on seeing a photograph: "is it the cut glass/ of their eyes/ looking up toward/ the new gnarled branch/ of the black man/ hanging from a tree?" Clifton's work hearkens back to the days of the Black Arts Movement and sheds light on the new black aesthetic. These are economical slices of ordinary life, celebrations, if you will, of African American existence. With simple language and common sense, she writes of grace, character, and race by way of the personal and familiar. Clifton's voice, her unique vision and wisdom, make this book essential for any serious poetry collection.--Louis McKee, Painted Bride Arts Ctr., Philadelphia Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781880238882
  • Publisher: BOA Editions, Ltd.
  • Publication date: 4/28/2000
  • Series: American Poets Continuum Series
  • Pages: 145
  • Sales rank: 327,037
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author


Lucille Clifton won the 2007 Ruth Lilly Poetry Award. Her book, Blessing the Boats (BOA Editions), won the 2000 National Book Award for Poetry. Two of Clifton's BOA poetry collections were chosen as finalists for the Pulitzer Prize in 1988. Clifton's awards include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and an Emmy Award.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2007

    GIFTED AUTHOR

    I loved this book of provocative poems. Ms. Clifton is such a talented writer and it really shines through on her work. I was engaged in the book from beginning to end. Many of her memories brought back memories of mine and the book made me feel good.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2007

    A reviewer

    Blessing the Boats, New and Selected Poems 1988-2000, Lucille Clifton, BOA, Ltd., Rochester, NY 2000', 132 pp, offers an often dreamy whirl through nuances of life to include lustful desires of the sex, battles with breast cancer, death of a loved one, menopause, oppression and more. Her poems are feminine in perspective, but probably universally applauded. She doesn¿t insults. They read like surreal episodes from a dream, having fleeting scenes change in time and place in nanosecond flashes. Words. Words are bended and hammered into concepts seen alien, yet fitting. For example, how does one ¿hear the bright train eye¿?¿ What the hell is the bright train eye? But in the context of ¿ birthday 1999,¿ not only does it fit, it¿s clear and above all, enlightening. The same cannot be said for all of Clifton poems. Some of them includes miscues that makes them not so clear. A few poems from Boats escaped my level of sophistication. For example, ¿white lady,¿ the narrator cries to cocaine to give her a ransom so she may have her kids back. ¿ cocaine will only tell her to make her kids depend more. I thought those well taken pleas could be better be directed at the government, white supremacy, or the dealers, but not cocaine. And, in ¿poem in praise of menstruation,¿ Clifton uses metaphors that are astounding in that they sound so right even though unless you¿re in a dream state, they really don¿t make sense. For example, uses a simile of ¿blood red edge of the moon¿ ¿ the moon isn¿t red at all. A better simile might have been the sun. Or, it could be something I¿m not getting because I am a man. Perhaps that is her point, during that period, excuse the pun, the sun, the moon, they¿re all the same. Using a prose style, Clifton¿s words are defined not by Webster but by the context in which she uses them. Her words often take flight from when we¿ve known them to some far off place where she¿s taking us.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2001

    A Gifted Writer

    a fabulous collection of the best poetry of a very gifted writer, penetrating in its depth. Lucille Clifton is very special.

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