Lucille Clifton was born (June 27, 1936) in Depew, New York. She attended Howard University from 1953 to 1955 and graduated from the State University of New York College at Fredonia (near Buffalo) in 1955. In 1958 she married Fred James Clifton. She worked as a claims clerk in the New York State Division of Employment, Buffalo (1958-1960), and as literature assistant in the Office of Education in Washington, D.C. (1960-1971). From 1971 to 1974 she was poet-in-residence at Coppin State College in Baltimore, and in 1979 she was named Poet Laureate of the state of Maryland.
In 1969 Ms. Cifton’s first book, a collection of poetry entitled Good Times, was published and The New York Times as one of the year’s 10 best books. Clifton’s later poetry collections include Next: New Poems (1987), Quilting: Poems 1987-1990 (1991), and The Terrible Stories (1996). Generations: A Memoir (1976) is a prose piece celebrating her origins, and Good Woman: Poems and a Memoir: 1969-1980 (1987) collects some of her previously published verse.
Lucille Clifton passed away in 2010.