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By Lucille Clifton

won’t you celebrate with me
what i have shaped into
a kind of life? i had no model.
born in babylon
both nonwhite and woman
what did i see to be except myself?
i made it up
here on this bridge between
starshine and clay,
my one hand holding tight
my other hand; come celebrate
with me that everyday
something has tried to kill me
and has failed.


Lucille Clifton, “won't you celebrate with me” from Book of Light. Copyright © 1993 by Lucille Clifton.  Reprinted by permission of Copper Canyon Press.

Source: Book of Light (Copper Canyon Press, 1993)

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Poet Bio

Lucille Clifton
Lucille Clifton was born in Depew, New York, and educated at Howard University, where she met fellow writers Sterling Brown, A.B. Spellman, and Toni Morrison. Clifton’s free verse lyrics — spare in form — often concern the importance of family and community in the face of economic oppression. Though rooted in folktales and a strong tradition of storytelling, many of Clifton’s poems are spirited, sometimes spiritual, explorations of race and gender. See More By This Poet

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