Read The Book of Light by Lucille Clifton Online


Lucille Clifton was born in Depew, New York in 1936, and educated at the State University of New York at Fredonia and at Howard University. Her awards include the Juniper Prize for Poetry, two nominations for the Pulitzer Prize in poetry, an Emmy Award from the American Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. SLucille Clifton was born in Depew, New York in 1936, and educated at the State University of New York at Fredonia and at Howard University. Her awards include the Juniper Prize for Poetry, two nominations for the Pulitzer Prize in poetry, an Emmy Award from the American Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. She has taught at the University of California at Santa Cruz and American University in Washington, D.C. and is Distinguished Professor of Humanities at St. Marys College of Maryland."In the extraordinary work of The Book of Light she [Clifton] flies higher and strikes deeper than ever. Poem after poem exhilarates and inspires awe at the manifestation of such artistic and spiritual power…One of the most authentic and profound living American poets."—Denise Levertov "Clifton’s latest collection clearly demonstrates why she was twice nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. These poems contain all the simplicity and grace readers have come to expect from her work."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)Other titles by Lucille Clifton from Consortium:Blessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems 1988-2000 (BOA Editions), 1-880238-88-8 PB • 1-880238-87-X HCGood Woman (BOA Editions), 0-918526-59-0 PBNext (BOA Editions), 0-918526-61-2 PBQuilting (BOA Editions), 0-918526-81-7 PBterrible stories (BOA Editions), 1-880238-37-3 PB • 1-880238-36-5 HC...

Title : The Book of Light
Author :
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ISBN : 9781556590528
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 80 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Book of Light Reviews

  • Jimmy
    2018-09-10 16:03

    Third book I have read by her, same result. Outdated 1968-style poetry. And her stories just aren't that interesting. Her poems about a group known as MOVE are just too one-sided and simplistic. They show no understanding of what it must have been like for the neighbors living near them. No one should have to tolerate such behavior. The group needs to shoulder some responsibility for the tragedy that finally occurred. Just look up MOVE on Wikipedia to find out more.

  • Jean
    2018-09-15 12:44

    I love Lucille Clifton's poetry and I get it. I read her selections over and over and turn them around and around in my mind. It's exhilirating to be touched by words so deeply.

  • KFed
    2018-09-24 15:51

    I wanted to like this volume more. Some of the poems -- "climbing," "june 20," "if i should" -- offer taught visions of pain and memory that make me want to penetrate the surface of the words to better understand the sentiments taking refuge there, waiting to be revealed and understood. But most of the rest of the poems in this volume tell too much, too immediately, or they tell everything and leave little to be explored on the reader's end. This is an acceptable technique, but it never forces the reader to look past the language to something deeper and more enduring. I found these poems pleasant in their observation sometimes, or pleasantly forgettable otherwise, with rare but striking exception.

  • N
    2018-09-20 10:46

    Some of the poems were lovely. Some were beautiful primarily because I imagined hearing Clifton read them (I've listened to recordings of her read). This reminds me of a poet--I think it was Dean Young--saying that he doesn't like poetry readings and that poetry shouldn't have to be spoken aloud to come alive. I'm still thinking on that sentiment, which seems 90% cantankerous and 10% kinda useful. At any rate, this is a collection where the force behind some of the poems must be conjured, and this conjuring at times feels like it shouldn't need to be done. But the poems that will stay with me celebrate and unsettle, and that seems right.

  • Carolyn
    2018-09-26 12:08

    I saw Lucille in the 1990s on a Poetry Reading tour. The poem about her hips made me shout amen being Native American and not a white Barbie Doll I related to that poem. There were a few in this volume too that spoke to me as well. Also some I couldn't quite relate too. But those were the ones that had me wrapped up tight in the beat type rhythms of her poems.

  • Mcatania21
    2018-09-21 12:07

    I’m going to admit that I read Lucille Clifton’s “The Book of Lights” twice, the first time was for pleasure, and the second time was for active reading. What I found astounding is that Clifton speaks almost as eloquently as she writes. In her interview, she made some really profound points about why she writes poetry:she responds to her “life” not mere civil rights or feminist “movements;” her poems “come from what you are trying to wonder about.” Clifton has suffered much loss in her life, and her poems show tragedy, but also triumph. Take, for example this affirming line: “Every day, something has come to try to kill me, and has failed.” I relate to Clifton because, like her, I write about what’s real, and am not concerned if what I write is “pretty” or not. While Clifton does not consider herself a feminist, she is interested in her own reflection and the way society perceives her: “maybe I should have kept the body I started, slim and possible as a boy’s bone.” (11) She seems unsure about her appearance and constantly questions her own identity with: “who am i?”, but by the end of her book, she accepts her body and chastises those who don’t: “this big woman” “who will find her beautiful if you do not?”Clearly, Clifton’s family life was turbulent. She writes candidly about her father’s sexual abuse with words like “randy” and this startling phrase: “a man whose fingers will itch to enter me.” Her dad is oppressive: “He leaves a wake of tears” (15), while her mom is inspirational: “daughter of dazzling you” (13). And, her subject matter is relatable, because we all have imperfect families. Family life is difficult, and oftentimes sad: “None of us know that we won’t smile again for years” (14).Clifton leaves the microcosm of her childhood family, and opens up her heartbreak and loneliness to the world towards the end of her book. She informs us: “we have so many gone (22). Furthermore, she asks difficult questions of herself, and of her reader, allowing her regrets to pour out into her poems: “what have you traveled toward more than your own safety?” (42). She seems to be challenging us to take more risks than her, do something everyday that scares us. She is almost coaching us to get out of our sheltered heads and stop living “in a mind that would destroy itself to comfort itself” (36). I also appreciate Clifton’s complex diction, which is deeply analytical and psychological. Could she possibly be talking about drug abuse in this line?Finally, I felt more of a kinship with Clifton’s earlier poems in the book versus the ones toward the end. Did anyone else have this experience? Her poems feel too honest, too delicate, and too spiritual to use obscene words like “bloody cock love” (47) and offensive phrases like: “thick odor of flesh burning and sweating and bearing young” (55). Her poems turn bitter: “fucking god fucking me” (59), and I start to feel uncomfortable in them, but perhaps she wants us to sit with her in all their un-comfortableness.

  • Alexandria Michelle
    2018-09-16 16:42

    Lucille Clifton's The Book of Light does not dissappoint. I love this poet's spare writing style that manages to give her readers image ladden journeys. Clifton writes about Spirit, childhood trauma, and other adversities. She is able to capture humor, joy, and passion as well. She includes a series of poems that feature a conversation between Lucifer and God that is simply brillant. What would Lucifer have to say to God anyway? Clifton delivers poignant verse that inspires the reader to think more deeply about God and his other face (Lucifer). She also writes an interesting series of poems to Clark Kent and Superman. The reader is blessed by several voices out of the bible and Greek Mythology. Clifton gives voice to Atlas, Zeus, Cain, Abel, Sarah, Ruth, and Naomi. All in all Clifton's collection is well worth the read. If you ever have the opportunity to hear this writer read her work in person, go for it. Her reading style is a centered, humorous, and majestic happening you do not want to miss!

  • Jami
    2018-09-24 16:07

    A friend recommended Clifton when I was searching for poetry books by women of color that would be nourishing/encouraging when we're depressed at the state of the world, struggling w/our activism, etc. This one is on point.

  • April
    2018-08-31 17:57

    I first read Lucille Clifton's work a few years ago. I stumbled across "Homage to My Hips" (fabulous) and from there went on to read her poetry collection, "Blessing the Boats." Recently, one of my sisters told me about reading her children's book, "The Lucky Stone."Clifton recently passed away, which put her at the forefront of my mind and motivated me to read more of her work. "The Book of Light" is full of some very interesting poems. I really liked the biblical ones. She wrote from the point of view of Cain, Naomi, Sarah, Lucifer and other biblical characters with a lot of power and emotion.

  • Hannah
    2018-09-08 15:49

    Clifton delivers graceful and powerful poetry in this book, as I have come to expect from her work. She draws from myth and Bible, comic book and news headlines and cultural icons, to bring the reader into her world, into understanding and communion with her:born in babylonboth nonwhite and womanwhat did i see to be except myself?(from "song at midnight")My favorite poem in this collection must be "the earth is a living thing." I also was gut-punched, in the best possible way, by "daughter" and "move" and "begin here."

  • Helen
    2018-09-17 10:48

    Lucille Clifton does it again. Heartbreaking poetry on race, family, and abuse, drawing from the poet's own life, as well as Biblical and mythological figures. All well written, interesting, and with something new to say on subjects that are already well covered by Clifton, as well as other poets. Definitely worth a read.

  • Isla McKetta
    2018-08-28 18:04

    Why aren't there more stars? I would give Clifton all of them. Simple, clean language with layers and deeper layers of meaning. She observes, she thinks, she expresses and all the while thinking some more. Gorgeous book. I love her.

  • Leslie Reese
    2018-09-08 12:06

    Divided into the three sections: "reflection", "lightning bolt", and "splendor"---these poems are luminescent, painful, curious, and revelatory. Even though I read the book straight through with some pauses for savoring, these are poems that I will read again and again.

  • David Gorgone
    2018-09-18 17:53

    I have been fortunate enough to have sat at her feet on numerous occassions and just listen to the brilliance of her poetry. In fact, floating around somewhere is a video of me asking her and Mark Doty a question at the Dodge Poetry Fest shown on PBS.

  • Misha
    2018-08-26 16:42

    "they will order youto give it up if you doyou will bring the temple downif you do not they wil"&&"If you live in a mindthat would destroy itselfto comfort itselfif you would stand firerather than differencedo not hesitatemoveaway"

  • Kristin
    2018-09-06 13:05

    I have a lot of respect for poets who educate me about historical figures and events (e.g. U.S. Senator Jesse Helms and how the police bombed the compound of MOVE in Philadelphia in 1995). From this book, her poems about her relationship with her mother and father were also powerful and painful.

  • Angie Whittemore
    2018-09-12 15:11

    I love this one:song at midnightbrothers,this big womancarries much sweetnessin the folds of her flesh.her hairis white with wonderful.she isrounder than the moonand far more faithful.brothers,who will hold her,who will find her beautifulif you do not?

  • Nicole
    2018-09-04 12:43

    introduce yourself to the inspired 'fox' series in this book.

  • Christina Borgoyn
    2018-09-16 14:03

    has a way of making the most candid moments poetic and lyical, almost a whisper.

  • Nakia
    2018-08-26 14:59

    Loved this collection of poetry, my favorite being "Song At Midnight".

  • Natalie
    2018-09-22 16:05

    This is the first book of poetry I read cover to cover. I adored it--probably because I thought I "got" it.

  • Shannon Shepherd
    2018-09-12 09:55

    Terrifyingly beautiful...

  • Kelsey
    2018-09-14 17:01

    Some of the most powerful, guttural poetry I have ever read. It is Clifton's attempt to make sense of things that cannot be understood. Her words punch back.

  • Misty Dawn
    2018-09-01 17:11

    Beautiful. Pleasing to the eye, the tongue and the ear while gently massaging its way into the deeper senses.

  • randi
    2018-08-31 09:43

    fantastic grasp of art through an experienced woman's eye. lucille is a lovely woman with an amazing personality and to hear her read her works further illuminates her talent.

  • Rhonda
    2018-09-13 10:48

    Lucille Clifton perhaps one of the most underrated prolific poets of our time. A national treasure!

  • Jose Araguz
    2018-09-03 14:53

    Lucille Clifton comes close to being one of our mystics. Her way with the line shows how words can be magnets. A book of hers is always a treat.

  • Reginald
    2018-09-08 10:03

    Check out the poem "Them and Us" in this volume...

  • Scott Whitney
    2018-09-21 12:06

    Very insightful and thought provoking poetry. The culture may not be my own, but the imagery transcends cultural boundaries in many instances.