Aracelis Girmay: “How to Carry Water: Selected Poems of Lucille Clifton”

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Editor, Aracelis Girmay Photo by S. Griffin.

In this episode, an award-winning poet discusses editing a book of poems by an award-winning poet—“How to Carry Water: Selected Poems of Lucille Clifton”, edited by Aracelis Girmay, is a literary special treat. Gone from us now, Lucille Clifton left so much behind, such as ten recently discovered poems included here. A mystic spirit, she turned experience to poetry, and her truthful poems about Black womanhood insist on beauty and kinship in even the most difficult circumstances; she wrote poems for history, now, and the future; her poems stay lodged in your mind, and insist that you see the world another way. Girmay says she arranged the selected poems in chronological order without page markers because she believes these poems transcend the idea of a book.

“How to Carry Water: Selected Poems of Lucille Clifton,” by Aracelis Girmay.

the lost women

i need to know their names
those women i would have walked with
jauntily the way men go in groups
swinging their arms, and the ones
those sweating women whom i would have joined
after a hard game to chew the fat
what would we have called each other laughing
joking into our beer? where are my gangs,
my teams, my mislaid sisters?
all the women who could have known me,
where in the world are their names?

How to Carry Water: Selected Poems of Lucille Clifton Copyright 
© 2020 by Aracelis Girmay. Reprinted courtesy of BOA Editions Ltd..