Not only is Poetry Friday here. It's also HERE! Welcome to the first ever Poetry Friday to be hosted at The Small Nouns.
For those of you new to The Small Nouns--welcome! Take a look around, enjoy, leave copious amounts of comments, and by all means subscribe to my RSS feed. And for all you wonderful fellow bloggers out there, why not take the time to add The Small Nouns to your blogroll? I'd really appreciate it and will certainly reciprocate.
Since it's a special day, I wanted to start a special series of posts dedicated to Women's History Month. And since nothing spurs discussion like a countdown (I'm still ticked that Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror" beat out Tiffany's "Could've Been" in my best friend's Top Hits of Fifth Grade Countdown...wow, I was a dork), I decided to countdown my top ten favorite female poets.
Now, I need to admit that I'm not very good at limiting myself. I'm the guy who sneaks 12 items in the express lane and whose Top Five Movies list has ten movies on it. Et cetera, et cetera. So I'm limiting myself in this case to poets no longer among the living. It's still a daunting task, but I'll do my best. And of course, feel free to disagree or join in in the conversation by leaving a comment.
Without further ado, I give you my number 10 poet...Lucille Clifton.
I think the first Clifton poem I ever read was "homage to my hips." I was a poetry novice at the time and its frank voice and pure honesty really stood out to me. What a powerful piece, a bellowing from the mountaintop of independence and freedom. "So this is what you can do with poetry," I thought.
Another poem that is dripping with honesty and pride is "won't you celebrate with me:"
won't you celebrate with me
what i have shaped into
a kind of life? i had no model.
born in babylon
both nonwhite and woman
what did i see to be except myself?
i made it up
here on this bridge between
starshine and clay,
my one hand holding tight
my other hand
Read the rest here. "i made it up." How great is that? And how true? My fifth graders loved reading this poem last year and it became an instant favorite. I think students of higher grades would enjoy it, too. The Poetry Foundation has a complete Poetry Guide for this one, including writing ideas, discussion questions, annotations, and teaching tips. Be sure to check it out.
So many of Ms. Clifton's poems strike a chord. She passed away last year and her powerful voice is surely missed. You might also enjoy:
There are many, many more. And many of them are painful and sad. But they're all beautifully written and so, so honest. Let me know which favorites of yours I've missed.
And now it's your turn, friends. Please use the little gadget-thingy below to leave your link. Thanks to all and happy Poetry Friday!