The first name on the list was Lucy Terry, author of a poem with the title "Bars Fight," and Lucille Clifton, who last year became poet laureate of Maryland, was at the end.

The list was assembled for "Generations: A Photo Exhibit of 11 Contemporary Black Women Writers," which opened last night with a reception in the council chambers at the District Building. Two of the writers -- Clifton and Eloise Greenfield -- were there to read from their works.

Echoing the theme of the exhibit, Clifton read prose and poetry from a collection titled "Generations":

"And I could tell you about things we have been through, some awful ones, some wonderful, but I know that the things that make us are more than that, our lives are more than the days in them, our lives are our line and we go on."

The poet has yet to write an official poem for the state.

"I write the best poetry I can and that is what I think I should do as poet laureate," she explained last night.

Greenfield, a Washington writer, read from a chapter in her book, "Childtimes."

"I wanted to tell the story of life in three childhoods -- my grandmother's, my mother's and my own -- to show how each generation takes its place in the long, long procession," the author said.

And she began with her grandmother's memories of the 1880s and 1890s in North Carolina, of a trip to Sea Island, Ga., and of her baptism.

The exhibit will remain on display in the District Building council chambers through February.

It was prepared by the Institute for the Preservation and Study of African American Writing. The co-sponsors include Charisma Youth Organization, Ascension Poetry Reading, and Effi Barry.

Opening the show last night, Barry emphasized her husband's hope that the District Building will not be regarded just as a place for citizens to come to complain as she pointed to the mini-gallery for art and other exhibits.