Kevin Young

The collected poems of Lucille Clifton

The collected poems of Lucille Clifton

Former Maryland poet laureate Lucille Clifton was a former "Jeopardy" champion who used a Ouija board to communicate with her dead mother. She was a survivor of childhood sexual abuse who as an adult unabashedly celebrated her physical self.

And in the newly released, 720-page volume of her collected poems, Clifton writes about cancer and racism and motherhood and her hips.

"The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton, 1965-2010" includes a foreword by Nobel laureate Toni Morrison. The volume also offers longtime fans of the National Book Award-winner some never-before published verses. Among them is a tantalizing 32-word morsel called "Sunday...