Poem #9 is “Ode to Lucille Clifton” [June 28, 2022, in A Lovely Place, A Fighting Place, A Charmer: The Baltimore Anthology (Belt Publishing, Cleveland, OH], my first contribution to a book! It is also one of numerous poems I’ve been commissioned or asked to write for a specific occasion or project. “Occasional poems,” as I call them, are a wonderful way to test one’s mettle as a writer.
I’d been studying the works of poet Lucille Clifton for more than a year, both independently and as part of a poetry study series hosted by Eastern Shore Writes Association,when the book’s co-editor, Rafael Alvarez (with Gary M. Almeter), asked me to write a poem for their book, an anthology of poems, essays, and stories about our beleaguered but beloved hometown.
This reading was recorded on December 29, 2022.