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Lost Names

Andrea Brady: Lucille Clifton, 22 April 2021

how to carry water: Selected Poems 
by Lucille Clifton, edited by Aracelis Girmay.
BOA, 256 pp., £19.99, September 2020, 978 1 950774 14 2
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... Lucille Clifton’s poem​ ‘study the masters’ remembers Aunt Timmie, whose iron ‘smoothed the sheets the master poet slept on’. The poem is a commemoration and lament. Timmie’s iron passes back and forth; the sheets over which she labours are transformed into the white page on which her experience is preserved:if you had heard herchanting as she ironedyou would understand form and lineand discipline and order andAmerica ...

Victory by Simile

Andrea Brady: Phillis Wheatley’s Evolution, 4 January 2024

The Odyssey of Phillis Wheatley: A Poet’s Journeys through American Slavery and Independence 
by David Waldstreicher.
Farrar, Straus, 480 pp., £24, March 2023, 978 0 8090 9824 8
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... creativity of the Black woman kept alive, year after year’, as Alice Walker put it. Walker, Lucille Clifton, June Jordan, Audre Lorde, Sonia Sanchez, Nikki Giovanni and others came together to honour Wheatley as the mother of Black American poetry. Clifton remembered them ‘holding hands and singing cause/you ...

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