In 2007, Lucille Clifton (June 27, 1936 to February 13, 2010) became the first African American woman to win the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, one of the most prestigious American poetry awards and one of the largest literary honors for work in the English language. Clifton has also won the National Book Award in poetry for Blessing the Boats (BOA Editions, 2000), and is the only author ever to have two collections, Good Woman: Poems and a Memoir (BOA Editions, 1987) and Next: New Poems (BOA Editions, 1987), named finalists for the Pulitzer Prize in one year.
Clifton has received fellowships from the NEA, an Emmy Award from the American Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the Shelley Memorial Prize and the Charity Randall Citation. She was a Distinguished Professor of Humanities as St. Mary’s College in Maryland. She was appointed a Fellow of The American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and elected as Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets in 1999. She lived in Columbia, MD.