An earlier version of this article incorrectly described the location of St. Mary's College. This version has been corrected.
A Local Life: Lucille Clifton, 73
Lucille Clifton, Md. poet laureate and National Book Award winner
Sunday, February 21, 2010
When she was a girl, Lucille Clifton sat on her mother's lap and listened to her recite poetry. Her mother never made it through elementary school, but she knew the power of language, and her poems stayed in her daughter's head forever.
But another memory seared itself in young Lucille's memory, too: when her father said no wife of his would be a poet. She watched as her thwarted mother threw her pages of verse into a burning furnace.
Years later, Ms. Clifton would remember this moment in a poem of her own, which she called "fury":
she is standing by
glisten like rubies.
her hand is crying.
her hand is clutching
a sheaf of papers.