Aired: April 18, 2015

Wild Blessings: The Poetry of Lucille Clifton

This hour we honor the work and legacy of the late poet Lucille Clifton and hear from poets whose work explores economic hardship, transition, and place. We’ll talk a little nonsense [literature] too.

Lucille Clifton

  • Wild Blessings (10 min.)

    With: Hilary Holladay

    The late poet Lucille Clifton was widely acclaimed for her powerful explorations of race, womanhood, and spirituality. She was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and received the Robert Frost Medal for lifetime achievement posthumously, from the Poetry Society of America.  An anthology of her work; “The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton 1965-2010 recently won the Hurston Wright Legacy Award for Poetry, and Clifton was also honored by the Furious Flower Poetry Center (James Madison University.)  We talk with Holladay who is the author of “Wild Blessings: The Poetry of Lucille Clifton,” the first full-length study of Clifton’s work.

  • A Conversation with Lucille Clifton (17 min.)

    With: Lucille Clifton

    A conversation with the late Lucille Clifton recorded in 2009 at the Furious Flower Poetry conference.

  • A Poet's Lament for Detroit (12 min.)

    With: Bob Hicok, Virginia Tech

    From Homer to Chaucer to Rita Dove, poetry has plumbed and expressed human strife, love, and everyday realities. Hicok worked for twenty years in the automotive industry.  His poems explore the lives of family and friends coping with economic devastation in Michigan.

  • Empty Nest (5 min.)

    With: Lisa Russ Spaar, University of Virginia

    In her poem, “Empty Nest,” Spaar explores how a familiar place changes through time.  She is a Guggenheim Fellowship awardee and an essayist on the subject of how poets’ personal odysseys intersect with a desire to understand humanity.

  • Nonsense Literature (6 min.)

    With: Kevin Shortsleeve, Christopher Newport University

    Shortsleeve is working on an anthology documenting nonsense literature from all over the world.

  • Poetry and Home

    While the new unemployment numbers from March show Michigan’s unemployment rate slowing down, the state is still struggling. A Virginia poet, originally from Michigan, has been getting attention for his poems about his home state. Jesse Dukes has more.

    To hear more from Bob Hicok, check out our show Wild Blessings.

  • Homage To My Hips

    Watch video of Lucille Clifton reading her popular poem, “Homage to My Hips”.

    To learn more about Clifton, check out our show Wild Blessings.


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