On our shelf we have a signed copy of good woman: poems and a memoir 1969-1980 [811 CLI], which I picked up at a Clifton signing back in 1999. Here's a joyous poem from the book that I would like to share in celebration of Clifton's life:
the poetI don't believe the tap dancing is against her will, do you?
i beg my bones to be good but
they keep clicking music and
i spin in the center of myself
a foolish frightful woman
moving my skin against the wind and
tap dancing for my life.
Adults may not realize that Clifton was also a writer for children. Her picture book, Everett Anderson's Goodbye [JP CLI], is often recommended as a book to use with children who have to deal with a death, since it succinctly covers the stages of grief and is written for a child, not an adult.
Clifton's passion and compassion will be missed.
This week's Poetry Friday Round-Up is being hosted by Irene Latham. Congratulations to Irene on the release, last month, of her first novel for children, Leaving Gee's Bend. (It is on order and should arrive shortly.)