Read Mercy by Lucille Clifton Online


Lucille Clifton’s poetry carries her deep concerns for the world’s children, the stratification of American society, those people lost or forgotten amid the crushing race of Western materialism and technology. In turns sad, troubled and angry, her voice has always been one of great empathy, knowing, as she says, “the only mercy is memory.” In this, her 12th book of poetry,Lucille Clifton’s poetry carries her deep concerns for the world’s children, the stratification of American society, those people lost or forgotten amid the crushing race of Western materialism and technology. In turns sad, troubled and angry, her voice has always been one of great empathy, knowing, as she says, “the only mercy is memory.” In this, her 12th book of poetry, the National Book Award-winner speaks to the tenuous relationship between mothers and daughters, the debilitating power of cancer, the open wound of racial prejudice, the redemptive gift of story-telling. “September Song,” a sequence of seven poems, featured on National Public Radio, presents a modern-day Orpheus who, through her grief, attempts to heart-intelligently respond to the events of September 11th. The last sequence of poems—a tightly-woven fabric of caveats and prayers—was initially written in the 1970s, then revised and reshaped in the last few years.Lucille Clifton is an award-winning poet, fiction writer and author of children’s books. Her most recent poetry book, Blessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems 1969–1999 (BOA), won the 2000 National Book Award for Poetry. Two of Clifton’s BOA poetry collections, Good Woman: Poems and a Memoir 1969–1980 and Next: New Poems, were chosen as finalists for the Pulitzer Prize in 1988, while Clifton’s The Terrible Stories (BOA) was a finalist for the 1996 National Book Award. Clifton has received fellowships from the NEA, an Emmy Award from the American Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the Shelley Memorial Prize and the Charity Randall Citation. She is a Distinguished Professor of Humanities as St. Mary’s College in Maryland. She was appointed a Fellow of The American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and elected as Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets in 1999. She lives in Columbia, MD....

Title : Mercy
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781929918553
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 79 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Mercy Reviews

  • Gus
    2018-09-13 17:27

    “there is a star/ more distant/ than eden/ something there/ is even now/ preparing”

  • Rachel
    2018-09-14 13:52

    "you have placed yourselvesin perilnot by your superior swordbut by your insignificantquarrels with life"—from "the message from The Ones"A really lovely collection—these are hard-hitting and strange in places, not terribly similar to other Clifton I've read. I liked this an awful lot.

  • Meher
    2018-09-14 11:34

    "the patience of the universeis not withoutan endso might it slowlyturn its backso might itslowlywalk awayleaving you alonein the world you leaveyour children."While instagram poets are fighting over the proprietorship of stark, minimalist poetry, Lucille Clifton did it better and more evocatively than anyone else almost 30 years earlier. What a giant among writers!

  • Twila Warner
    2018-09-07 10:33

    77pp. As I read, I thought, "these are solid little poems", until I hit the last two sections, one set in the days following 9/11 the other following a mystical visitation from "The Ones". These are stunning. I wish I could transcribe them all for you so you might feel the need to own Mercy and embody its tenants, but I'll choose three.5 saturday 9/15/01i know a man who perished for his faith. others called him infidel, chased him downand beat him like a dog. after he diedthe world was filled with miracles.people forgot he was a jew and loved him.who can know what is intended? who can understandthe gods?(from the message from The Ones, received in the late 70's)youare not choseany stonecan singwe cometo languagesnot livesyour tongue is usefulnot unique*you are notyour brothers keeperyou areyour brotherthe one hiding in the bushis youthe onelying on the grateis youthe mad one in the cageor at the podiumis youthe king is youthe kike is youthe honky is youthe nigger is youthe bitch is youthe beauty is youthe friend is youthe enemy ohothers have come to say thisit is notmetaphoryou are not your sisters keeperyou areyour sister yes*

  • Brian Wasserman
    2018-09-24 15:32

    jazzy, vatic and at times indiscernable, not my cup of tea

  • Sarah
    2018-09-07 10:35

    This one is what this book is about:surely i am able to write poemscelebrating grass and how the bluein the sky can flow green or redand the waters lean against the chesapeake shore like a familiar,poems about nature and landscapesurely but whenever i begin"the trees wave their knotted branchesand..." whyis there under that poem alwaysan other poem?For Lucille Clifton, everything is about something else, and everything's something else is personal. Her poems are strong, vulnerable, brave, tender, violent, and pensive. Mostly from the gut, and from history, both personal and social. We are what we have seen and done and been and felt, I think she means. Her journey feels human in a way I am finding very attractive right now, a gutly, raw sort of messy, intuitive extraction. No pretense, no wit, no extravagance -- economic eloquence in an authentic voice. Someday, I'll look back and no doubt understand why these qualities were what I needed so much right now. No matter when, though, her poems will always be beautiful.

  • Alexandria Michelle
    2018-09-26 11:32

    I loved this collection of poems. Clifton does a masterful job of sharing her thoughts and images on loving mama,beating cancer three times, losing children to death, haunted memories of an abusive father and Spirit. She includes a fantastic series of poems based around 9/11 titled, September Song: a poem in 7 days. She completes the collection with a second series, titled Message from the Ones (received in the late 70s.) This series of poems was extraordinary because she delves into life beyond death, God, Spirits, Muse and the ability to allow the gifts artists have to flow freely. This collection is certainly a gift. If you have not heard Clifton perform her work in person you must. Put it on your to-do list NOW! She is a treasure not to be missed.

  • Ruth
    2018-09-16 13:46

    I would give this book 4 stars if it consisted only of the first two-thirds. I would give it 1 or 2 if it were shortened to the last third.The last third, "the message from the Ones (received in the late 70s)," is tiresomely oracular. There's little imagery, just pronouncements (e.g., "the air / you have polluted / you will breathe // the waters / you have poisoned / you will drink // when you come again / and you will come again").Much more beautiful is "wind on the st. marys river," which pictures "Jeremiah Fanny Lou Geronimo" and other ancestors approaching the shore, "the nap of their silver hair whipping . . . white caps on the water."

  • Jimmie
    2018-08-31 09:31

    Clifton tackles quite a few things with this collection, including the deaths of her mother and sister and 9/11. It seems at first to be incoherent, but after some consideration I realized the whole book is about honoring what you once had, appreciating what you still have, and sharing it with the world. I particularly like the poems about ecology (both in the environmental and holistic senses).Here's one of my favorite poems from this collection (untitled):in the saying ofyouwe will sometimebe generaland sometimeparticularin the saying of wewe are we

  • Destiny
    2018-08-31 10:48

    I don't remember exactly which poem I read by Mrs. Clifton first but I remember liking it. When it came time for me to buy books I thought of her and I ordered this collection. It is marvelous. The poetry flows well and I particularly like the 9/11 sequence. I feel like that section in particular is still relevant to America post 9/11The last section with the poems from the Other World where really great as other well. I feel like they were trying to impart some wisdom and I feel like I need to hear it. I loved this collection and I will be looking into more of her work.

  • Milo
    2018-09-23 10:48

    "dying"i saw a small moon risefrom the breast of a womanlying in a hospital halland I saw that the moon was meand I saw that the punctured bagof a woman body was meand i saw you sad there in the lobbywaiting to visit and I wantedto sing to yougo homei am waiting for you there*"the third time and you are so tiredso tired and you nod your headand smile and walk away fromthe angel uniforms the bloodmachines and you enter the nearestmovie house and stand in the last aislestaring at the screen with your living eyes"- from "cancer"

  • Reuel
    2018-09-04 10:51

    I really enjoyed the poems in this collection, especially September Song: A Poem in Seven Days, which was a response to the NYC attack of 9/11/2001, and The Message from the Ones (Received in the Late 70s). Although her collection titled The Terrible Stories was a finalist for both a National Book Award and a Pulitizer Prize, I found this collection much more compelling.

  • Madeline
    2018-09-09 13:48

    Although it's obvious Lucille Clifton takes her "craft" (ugh, and sorry, but ...) very seriously, and hasn't compromised it for readability, the poems are nevertheless extremely readable. And also very relatable: even the kind of gnomic poems at the end have ... let's say applications. This is intimate poetry.

  • Dliu
    2018-09-04 16:26

    very interesting book of poems, mostly in the same style, of a blurry almost dreamlike trance-mission. Made me feel uneasy at first, but I've come to love this book as a whole, now that i've picked thru it several times, and read everything in it at least once. this is definitely poetry with a messagethanks to lala for the recommendation!

  • Nancy Ross
    2018-08-29 16:32

    Picked this up at the library as everyone in my family suddenly wants to read poetry. It's a good one. Will have to reread to get more out of the poems, which are brief and dense and all about incredibly heavy topics--death, Sept 11th, etc.

  • Jean
    2018-09-01 10:53

    I did not enjoy these as much as I did a couple other of her books of poetry. They were still worth the read.

  • Kara
    2018-09-24 17:31


  • Miranda
    2018-09-07 10:37

    This is one of the most stirring and striking books of poetry that I have ever read! If you haven't checked out this poet's work, do it!

  • Amanda
    2018-09-05 10:39

    I want to keep these poems nearby. They are very special to my point of view right now. Any stone can sing.

  • Virginia Albanese
    2018-09-24 09:53

    Really liked most of the poems about some serious aspects of life. First time I have read her.

  • Kirsten
    2018-09-11 09:54

    Excellent. Love her voice. Looking forward to the next collection.

  • Scott Whitney
    2018-08-29 15:42

    This book caused a lot of contemplation within me.

  • Joshua Heckathorn
    2018-09-22 16:30

    I find her poetry to be slightly disconnected and somewhat hard to read. But I'm still reading and re-reading the book.

  • Cami
    2018-08-30 17:38

    Such an excellent collection.This includes a series of poems written the week of September 11, 2001.

  • Sherry Lee
    2018-09-04 14:42

    I love this book, but can anyone explain "the message from The Ones"?