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Poet Lucille Clifton dies

Patricia Sullivan

Lucille Clifton, 73, a National Book Award-winning poet and Pulitzer finalist, died yesterday at Johns Hopkins University Hospital in Baltimore, her sister said. The cause of death was unclear but Clifton was hospitalized for an infection last week at a hospital in Columbia, Md., before being transferred to Baltimore.

A poet laureate of the state of Maryland, she worked for state and federal governments even after her first book of poems, "Good Times," was rated one of the best books of the year by the New York Times in 1969., her biography says. She reads a poem about the days surrounding Sept. 11, 2001 at the PBS NewsHour site and talked about when and how she started to write in this video report from WGBH television.

The native of Depew, N.Y., won the National Book Award in 2000 for "Blessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems 1988-2000." She was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1988.

By Patricia Sullivan  |  February 14, 2010; 12:05 PM ET
Categories:  Patricia Sullivan , Washington DC-area people  
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Comments

I met Lucille Clifton via her poetry many years ago at a point of suicide. Her works dared me to merely "be". In Clifton's honor, I continue to "be" and so I "am".

Posted by: ajtucker_7 | February 14, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Ms. Clifton's poetry made sense of our everyday joys, pains, and struggles. RIP

Posted by: v_matty | February 14, 2010 7:24 PM | Report abuse

Why hasn't the Post published an obit and an appreciation in the paper edition?

Posted by: frazz4 | February 20, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

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