The Poetry Foundation recently announced that Lucille Clifton will receive this year's Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize. The annual award honors a U.S. poet "whose lifetime accomplishments warrant extraordinary recognition." This recognition (in the form of a $100,000 check) is indeed extraordinary, but so are the accomplishments of Clifton. Here are some career highlights:
She has published twelve books of poems since 1969—the year her debut, Good Times, was released by Random House. Her poetry has been translated into Norwegian, Spanish, French, Japanese, and other languages. She was the first writer to have two poetry collections chosen as finalists for the Pulitzer Prize—Good Woman: Poems and a Memoir, 1969-1980 and Next, both published by BOA Editions in 1987 and nominated in 1988. She won a National Book Award in 1999 for Blessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems, 1988-2000 (BOA Editions, 2000). And she served as Maryland's poet laureate from 1974 to 1985.
Previous winners of the Ruth Lilly Prize, which was established in 1986, are Adrienne Rich (1986), John Ashbery (1992), A. R. Ammons (1996), W. S. Merwin (1998), Yusef Komunyakaa (2001), and Richard Wilbur (2006).