Lucille Clifton (1936–2010) was born in Depew, New York. Her first collection of poems, Good Times (Random House, 1969), was named one of the best books of the year by the New York Times. In 1971, she became a writer-in-residence at Coppin State College in Baltimore, where she completed two collections: Good News About the Earth (1972) and An Ordinary Woman (1974). Clifton’s other poetry collections include Blessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems 1988–2000 (BOA Editions, 2000), which won the National Book Award; Good Woman: Poems and a Memoir 1969–1980 (1987), which was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize; and Two-Headed Woman (University of Massachusetts Press, 1980), also a Pulitzer Prize nominee. Clifton was also the author of more than 16 books for children, written expressly for an African American audience, and she served as poet laureate for the state of Maryland from 1979 to 1985. Her family’s former home in Baltimore is being transformed into Clifton House, a residency for writers and artists.
Robin Coste Lewis
Robin Coste Lewis was born in Compton, California. She received a PhD in creative writing and literature from the University of Southern California, an MFA in creative writing from New York University, and an MTS from the Divinity School at Harvard University. She is the author of Voyage of the Sable Venus (Knopf, 2015), winner of the National Book Award for poetry. Lewis has taught at Wheaton College, Hunter College, and Hampshire College, and is the writer-in-residence at the University of Southern California. The recipient of a 2019 Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellowship and a 2019 Guggenheim Fellowship, Lewis currently serves as the poet laureate of Los Angeles, where she lives.