Lucille Clifton - Community of Writers at Squaw Valley


Beloved and admired friend and staff member, Lucille Clifton died Saturday, February 13. She had been invited back again to Squaw Valley this summer as a Special Guest. We had so looked forward to seeing her again. She last taught in Squaw in 2008. She had been a regular staff member since 1991 and continued to return almost every other year since then. Lucille was a major figure in American letters. She was an award-winning poet, fiction writer and author of children’s books. BOA Editions published her most recent collection, Mercy, as well as Blessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems 1969-1999, which 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 served as Distinguished Professor of Humanities and holder of the Hilda C. Landers Endowed Chair in the Liberal Arts at St. Mary’s College of Maryland until her retirement in the fall of 2005. She continued to serve St. Mary’s as Professor Emeritus and Friend to the College. 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. In 2007 she was awarded the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, which honors a living U.S. poet whose lifetime accomplishments warrant extraordinary recognition. This year, 2010, she was awarded the Frost Medal from the Poetry Society of America to honor “distinguished lifetime service to American poetry.”