Happy birthday, Lucille!

Lucille’s mother was a gifted poet with only an elementary school education. Her poetry was offered publication but Lucille’s father wouldn’t allow it and forced her to burn the poems in the fireplace. It’s said Lucille never forgot it and I’m sure it shaped much of her own poetry. About the incident, she wrote a poem called “fury”:
“her hand is crying. / her hand is clutching / a sheaf of papers. / poems. / she gives them up. / they burn / jewels into jewels.”

She was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for two separate books in the same year: Good Woman: Poems and a Memoir (1987), and Next: New Poems (1987). She won the National Book Award for Blessing the Boats (2000); the 2007 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize; and the Frost Medal from the Poetry Society of America in 2010, just before her death.

When I discovered Lucille’s work I felt energized. Her messages of empowerment and self-love are lessons every one of us should take to heart and put into practice. How great it must have been to hear her read in person. 


Photo via The New Yorker

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3 thoughts on “Happy birthday, Lucille!

  1. I understood from Lucille that her mother burned the poems on her own.

    You know she was in the poetry group I was in for years, right? I took her to dialysis for over a year. She’d read me poems she was working on, many of which enver got published. Amazing writer. What an ear – she was great to work with.

    Tammy Vitale, Realtor/GRI

    RE/MAX One 23076 Three Notch Road Suite 102-104 California MD 20619

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    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do remember you told me that you were in a group with her. Lucky you! I read about her mother on The Writer’s Almanac but you heard it straight from her so I’m sure you’re right. 😊

      Like

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