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St. John's Pond

St. John's Pond in the Fall

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Poems Around St. John's Pond:  Remembering Lucille Clifton

Several years ago, a series of plaques were installed around St. John’s Pond. On each plaque is written one part of Lucille Clifton’s “september song  a poem in seven days,” representing the seven days following the attacks on September 11, 2001. The plaques marking the path of this short walk were installed to accentuate the natural beauty of the St. Mary’s College campus by providing a lens for reflection for those walking by. Lucille Clifton portrait

Lucille Clifton Portrait Lucille Clifton (1936-2010) was Poet Laureate of Maryland from 1979 to 1985; she was a major 20th century poet whose work explores themes of compassion, justice, and human dignity. She taught at St. Mary’s College for over fifteen years and was a beloved member of the faculty.  Over time, she grew to love the river on which the college resides. A waterside campus, St. Mary’s College offers views of the St. Mary’s River from nearly every vantage point.  Its rural surroundings further enhance the calm that greets and embraces everyone who visits or resides here.

As one of the founding members of the St. Mary’s Arboretum Association, and as a proud St. Mary’s College alumnus (Class of 2011), I prepared this glimpse of the poetry walk for you to enjoy, featuring Ms. Clifton’s own reading of two of the poem’s days.  Come to campus and see the rest of the installed plaques, walk the Clifton pond-side path, and enjoy our many-featured Arboretum. Lucille Clifton’s words and sensibilities live on and continue to inspire us, here, at St. Mary’s College.



Many thanks to the Public Broadcasting System for permitting this use of the audio presentation. 

Danny Ruthenberg Marshall
Class of 2011
St. Mary’s College


Current faculty member and former Poet Laureate of Maryland (2004-2009) Michael S. Glaser adds:

Lucille's Collected Poems are being published by BOA Editions Ltd. and are due for release in September, 2012.  St. Mary's College of Maryland is proud to help support the publication and encourage continuing interest in the life and work of Ms. Clifton.

We miss her still.