- Birthday, Books, Quotes, Reading, Writing

Lucille Clifton on Poetry, Writing, Connection, and More.


Happy birthday, Lucille Clifton! Here are some quotes from the author:


“Come celebrate with me that every day something has tried to kill me and has failed.”


“People wish to be poets more than they wish to write poetry, and that’s a mistake. One should wish to celebrate more than one wishes to be celebrated.”


“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”


“What they call you is one thing. What you answer to is something else.”


“I don’t write out of what I know; I write out of what I wonder. I think most artists create art in order to explore, not to give the answers. Poetry and art are not about answers to me; they are about questions.”


“A lot of women have borne a lot of things; a lot of people have borne a lot of things. There’s a certain kind of human that I want to be. There is not shame in my life. There is certainly misfortune, but I’m not the only one. I do know that. And sometimes, one of the things poetry can do is say to an audience: you are not alone. It can also speak for those who have not yet found their voice to speak. That’s part of the human condition. And if we’re going to talk about humans, why are we just going to talk about the pretty ones.”


“I am a grown-up, sensual woman, even at this age and size. People would think you wouldn’t be. I’m open to the whole of human experience.”


“One thing poetry teaches us, if anything, is that everything is connected…There is so much history that we have not validated.”


  • John Madera is the author of Nervosities (Anti-Oedipus Press, 2024). His other fiction is published in Conjunctions, Salt Hill, The &Now Awards 2: The Best Innovative Writing, and many other journals. His nonfiction is published in American Book Review, Bookforum, The Review of Contemporary Fiction, Rain Taxi: Review of Books, The Believer, The Brooklyn Rail, and many other venues. Recipient of an M.F.A. in Literary Arts from Brown University, New York State Council on the Arts awardee John Madera lives in New York City, Rhizomatic and manages and edits Big Other.

Leave a Reply