Generations, by Lucille Clifton

Staff Pick

The prose of great poets resonates from a special, liminal place all its own, and Clifton’s lyrical memoir—first published in 1976 and reissued with an appreciation by former poet laureate Tracy K. Smith—sings with not just her own voice, but those of her family members as channeled through her “great storyteller” father. Richly cadenced with the rhythms of ordinary speech, these moving stories—punctuated by excerpts from Whitman—profile the generations descended from Mammy Ca’line—abducted from Africa, trafficked to the U.S., and forced to walk North from New Orleans to Virginia at “eight years old”; through her daughter, Lucille Sale, “the first Black woman legally hanged in the state of Virginia”; and on to Clifton’s father, Sam, that “rock” of a man who could barely write but was “an avid reader” and instilled in his daughter the pride of Dahomey women.

 

 

Generations: A Memoir Cover Image
By Lucille Clifton, Tracy K. Smith (Introduction by)
$14.95
ISBN: 9781681375878
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: NYRB Classics - November 16th, 2021