35 Lucille Clifton Quotes from the American Poet

Lucille Clifton was a famous poet and children’s book author.

She became popular when Langston Hughes included her work in his anthology.

Known for her concise impactful style Clifton’s poetry often addressed African-American experiences and family life.

She won numerous awards including the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize and the National Book Award and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist.

Clifton’s writing which also extended to children’s literature was celebrated for its depth and humaneness.

Lucille Clifton Quotes

Her first poetry volume “Good Times” was highly acclaimed and her subsequent works like “Quilting” and “Blessing the Boats” continued to explore themes of adversity, history and women’s experiences.

Clifton who passed away in 2010 left a legacy of poignant thought-provoking literature that resonates across various audiences.

I have listed below the best quotes by Lucille Clifton in this article.

Top 10 Lucille Clifton Quotes


You cannot play for safety and make art. ~ Lucille Clifton.


If someone gives you permission, they can take it away. I give myself permission. ~ Lucille Clifton.


The end of a thing, is never the end, something is always being born like a year of a baby. ~ Lucille Clifton.


Tell the truth… maybe just to see clearly, as clearly as possible. ~ Lucille Clifton.


Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure. ~ Lucille Clifton.


Come celebrate with me that every day something has tried to kill me and has failed. ~ Lucille Clifton.


I don’t go get a poem. It calls me and I accept it. ~ Lucille Clifton.


May you kiss the wind then turn from it certain that it will love your back. ~ Lucille Clifton.


Children when they ask you why your mama so funny say she is a poet she don’t have no sense. ~ Lucille Clifton.


Say it clear, and it will be beautiful. ~ Lucille Clifton.

Famous Lucille Clifton Quotes


Don’t write out of what I know; I write out of what I wonder. I think most artists create art in order to explore, not to give the answers. Poetry and art are not about answers to me; they are about questions. ~ Lucille Clifton.


People wish to be poets more than they wish to write poetry, and that’s a mistake. One should wish to celebrate more than one wishes to be celebrated. ~ Lucille Clifton.

I think that were beginning to remember that the first poets didn’t come out of a classroom, that poetry began when somebody walked off of a savanna or out of a cave and looked up at the sky with wonder and said, “Ahhh.” That was the first poem. ~ Lucille Clifton.


Intellect doesn’t translate across cultures; intuition does. ~ Lucille Clifton.

They ask me to remember but they want me to remember their memories and I keep on remembering mine. ~ Lucille Clifton.


What they call you is one thing. What you answer to is something else. ~ Lucille Clifton.

Even when the universe made it quite clear to me that I was mistaken in my certainties … I did not break. The shattering of my sureties did not shatter me. ~ Lucille Clifton.


Poems come out of wonder, not out of knowing. ~ Lucille Clifton.

You might as well answer the door, my child, the truth is furiously knocking. ~ Lucille Clifton.

Best Lucille Clifton Quotes


In the bigger scheme of things the universe is not asking us to do something, the universe is asking us to be something. And that’s a whole different thing. ~ Lucille Clifton.

The literature of America should reflect the children of America. ~ Lucille Clifton.

The lesson of the falling leaves the leaves believe such letting go is love such love is faith such faith is grace such grace is god i agree with the leaves. ~ Lucille Clifton.

Poetry is a matter of life, not just a matter of language. ~ Lucille Clifton.


I come to comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comfortable. ~ Lucille Clifton.

I do not feel inhibited or bound by what I am. That does not mean that I have never had bad scenes relating to being Black and/or a woman, it means that other people’s craziness has not managed to make me crazy. ~ Lucille Clifton.

Popular Lucille Clifton Quotes


Telling the truth about children’s lives is radical. ~ Lucille Clifton.

All people, even one’s own children, come with baggage. When they’re little, you have to help them carry it. But when they grow up, you have to do that difficult thing of setting their baggage down and taking up your own again. ~ Lucille Clifton.

I write from my knowledge not my lack, from my strength not my weakness. I am not interested if anyone knows whether or not I am familiar with big words, I am interested in trying to render big ideas in a simple way. I am interested in being understood not admired. ~ Lucille Clifton.

To be a good poet, you must care more about the writing, than the writer. ~ Lucille Clifton.

I am running into a new year and the old years blow back like a wind that I catch in my hair like strong fingers like all my old promises and it will be hard to let go of what I said to myself about myself when I was sixteen and twenty-six and thirty-six but I am running into a new year and I beg what i love and I leave to forgive me. ~ Lucille Clifton.


We cannot create what we can’t imagine. ~ Lucille Clifton.

Things don’t fall apart. Things hold. Lines connect in thin ways that last and last and lives become generations made out of pictures and words just kept. ~ Lucille Clifton.

We need new words for what this is, this hunger entering our loneliness like birds, stunning our eyes into rays of hope. we need the flutter that can save us, something that will swirl across the face of what we have become and bring us grace. ~ Lucille Clifton.

So these were the 35 famous quotes about Lucille Clifton.

If you like these quotes and sayings, then you can also read my other posts on Karen Carpenter quotes and Isaiah Berlin quotes.

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Chandan Negi
Chandan Negi

I’m the Founder of Internet Pillar - I love sharing quotes and motivational content to inspire and motivate people - #quotes #motivation #internetpillar