In 2007, Lucille Clifton became the first African American woman to win the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, one of the most prestigious American poetry awards and one of the largest literary honors for work in the English language. Clifton has also won the National Book Award in poetry for Blessing the Boats (BOA Editions, 2000), and is the only author ever to have two collections, Good Woman: Poems and a Memoir (BOA Editions, 1987) and Next: New Poems (BOA Editions, 1987), named finalists for the Pulitzer Prize in one year.
In Voices, Clifton continues her celebrated aesthetic of writing poems for the disempowered and the underprivileged while finding humor and redemption among life’s many hardships. This book also highlights Clifton’s ability to write inventive dramatic monologues. Voices includes monologues spoken by animals, as well as by the food product spokespeople Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben, and the apparently nameless guy on the Cream of Wheat box.
“cream of wheat”
sometimes at night
we stroll the market aisles
ben and jemima and me they
walk in front humming this and that
i lag behind
trying to remove my chef’s cap
wondering what ever pictured me
then left me personless
i read in an old paper that i was called rastus
but no mother ever
gave that to her son
toward dawn we head back
to our shelves
our boxes ben and jemima and me
we pose and smile i simmer
to myself what is my name
BOA Editions is thrilled to present the newest poetry collection by the one and only Lucille Clifton.