Lucille Clifton was born in Depew, New York, on June 27, 1936. Her high school career was completed at Fosdick-Masten Park High School. She attended Howard University from 1953 to 1955 and graduated from the State University of New York at Fredonia (near Buffalo) in 1955. Her first book of poems, Good Times, was rated one of the best books of the year by the New York Times in 1969.
Clifton remained employed in state and federal government positions until 1971, when she became a writer in residence at Coppin State College in Baltimore, Maryland, where she completed two collections: Good News About the Earth (1972) and An Ordinary Woman (1974). She also wrote Generations: A Memoir (1976) and more than sixteen books for children, written expressly for an African-American audience.
Some of highlights:
- Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for in 1987 for Good Woman: Poems and a Memoir 1969-1980 and in 1980 for Two-Headed Woman (1980)
- Received an Emmy Award from the American Academy of Television Arts and Sciences
- Elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets in 1999
- Served as Poet Laureate for the State of Maryland
- Became a Distinguished Professor of Humanities at St. Mary’s College of Maryland
After a long battle with cancer, Lucille Clifton died on February 13, 2010, at the age of 73.
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