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Former Maryland Poet Laureate Is Maryland Humanities Selection “Route 1 Reads”

Lucille Clifton by Rachel Eliza Griffiths Hires Credit: Rachel Eliza Griffiths Hiring

(Baltimore, Maryland) – Maryland Center for the Book at Humanities of Maryland is pleased to announce How to carry water: selected poems of Lucille Clifton as its 2021 selection for Route 1 readings, an annual road trip inspired playlist. Route 1 Reads is coordinated by the State Center for the Book Affiliate Network located along Route 1. This year’s genre is poetry.

How to transport water celebrates the familiar and lesser-known works of former Maryland Poet Laureate Lucille Clifton (1979-1985), including 10 newly discovered poems that have never been collected before. The poems celebrate black femininity and resilience and reflect intellect, insight, humor and joy. The late Toni Morrison once described Clifton’s voice as “seductive with atomic simplicity, that is, highly complex, explosive under apparent stillness.” Award-winning poet Aracelis Girmay edited How to transport water, select the poems and present the collection.

Clifton (1936-2010) was an award-winning poet, fiction writer and author of children’s books. His collection of poetry, Blessing of the Boats: New and Selected Poems 1988-2000 (BOA, 2000), won the National Book Award for Poetry. In 1988, she became the only author to have two collections selected the same year as Pulitzer Prize finalists: Good woman: poems and memory (BOA, 1987) and Next: New poems (BOA, 1987). In 1996, his collection, The terrible stories (BOA, 1996), was a finalist for the National Book Award. His many other awards and accolades include the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, the Frost Medal and an Emmy Award. In 2013, his collection published posthumously The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton 1965-2010 (BOA 2012), received the Hurston / Wright Legacy Award for Poetry.

Aracelis Girmay received a National Endowment for the Arts scholarship in 2011 and a Whiting Award for Poetry in 2015. One of his three collections of poetry, The Black Maria (2016), was named “Best Choice of Poetry” by Publisher’s Weekly, O Magazine, and Library Journal.



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Margarita W. Wilson

The author Margarita W. Wilson