Black Names in White Space: by Hilary Holladay As the daughter of a Virginian and a Georgian, the African American poet Lucille Clifton has always had the South in her blood, and the region has naturally found its way into her life and writing. Born in 1936 in Depew, New York, Clifton grew up there and later in Buffalo. Despite these northern credentials, she maintains that her upbringing was southern ("A Music in Language" 74). Her parents had come to the North during the Great Migration, but that did not mean that they had truly left the South behind. It was alive in their memories and in the stories they told their attentive daughter, who retells many of those tales in Generations: A Memoir (1976). In recent years, Clifton -- who won the 2000 National Book Award for Poetry for her eleventh volume of verse, Blessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems 1988 2000 --has frequently read her poetry in the South, and she has held visiting teaching positions at Memphis State University and Duke University. But she has lived most of her adult life in Maryland, which is in or near the South, depending on your perspective
The Southern Literary Journal – University of North Carolina Press
Published: Jan 6, 2002
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