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(June 27, 1936 - February 13, 2010 / Baltimore, Maryland)

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Homage to My Hips

these hips are big hips.
they need space to
move around in.
they don't fit into little
petty places. these hips
are free hips.
they don't like to be held back.
these hips have never been enslaved,
they go where they want to go
they do what they want to do.
these hips are mighty hips.
these hips are magic hips.
i have known them
to put a spell on a man and
spin him like a top

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003


Read poems about / on: magic

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Comments about this poem (memory by Lucille Clifton )

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  • Jasbir Chatterjee (11/7/2013 10:23:00 PM)

    for a change, PH made a right choice in choosing this poem as poem of the day..it certainly deserves to be..I like the bold attitude in this poem...

    0 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Soumita Sarkar (11/7/2013 4:05:00 AM)

    Good satire on the hips that are attractive and free..............BUT I completely agree with what Mr. Nair said.......

  • Babatunde Aremu (11/7/2013 2:49:00 AM)

    Ha, ha, ha.........This is hilarious. The poet is celebrating the giftof God in her life. But be warned if the hips are too big it becomes a problem to the owner. Well, I enjoy the poem. Kudos

  • Krishnakumar Chandrasekar Nair (11/7/2013 2:23:00 AM)

    All hips have an expiry date
    A time when no more heads they turn
    When you are a little overweight
    And seeing other hips with jealousy burn.............

    Good poem and surprising choice of subject. I welcome all poets reading this to my page too.

  • Leon Leonidas (3/6/2013 1:13:00 AM)

    I came here following a link in a piece in the NYT, 'Black Women and Fat', by Alice Randall,5 May 2012.

    As Randall, an overweight black woman trying to get her weight under 200 lbs points out:

    FOUR out of five black women are seriously overweight. One out of four middle-aged black women has diabetes. With $174 billion a year spent on diabetes-related illness in America and obesity quickly overtaking smoking as a cause of cancer deaths, it is past time to try something new.

    Randall goes on to argue the African American women are fat because they want to be fat, and because their husbands want them to be fat. Thus females being fat is seen as being desirable in African American culture.

    Clifton, therefore, is not making a statement about being a powerful, independent woman, even if she thinks she is. Clifton is merely conforming to the expectations of African American culture, a culture shaped by male and female African Americans, but also of course shaped by white American culture.

  • Leon Leonidas (3/6/2013 1:12:00 AM)

    I came here following a link in a piece in the NYT, 'Black Women and Fat', by Alice Randall,5 May 2012.

    As Randall, an overweight black woman trying to get her weight under 200 lbs points out:

    FOUR out of five black women are seriously overweight. One out of four middle-aged black women has diabetes. With $174 billion a year spent on diabetes-related illness in America and obesity quickly overtaking smoking as a cause of cancer deaths, it is past time to try something new.

    Randall goes on to argue the African American women are fat because they want to be fat, and because their husbands want them to be fat. Thus females being fat is seen as being desirable in African American culture.

    Clifton, therefore, is not making a statement about being a powerful, independent woman, even if she thinks she is. Clifton is merely conforming to the expectations of African American culture, a culture shaped by male and female African Americans, but also of course shaped by white American culture.

  • Anita Sehgal (11/7/2012 11:37:00 PM)

    really enjoyed this courageous poem...!

  • Ramesh Rai (11/7/2012 7:00:00 AM)

    nice homage to hips. hips have never been enslaved rather enslaved the man to spin him like a top.

  • Tony Nyen (11/25/2009 11:46:00 AM)

    Homage to my Hips

    By Lucille Clifton

    She uses a figurative metaphor “Hips” to represent her personal characteristics. She has powerful, mighty, and magic hips. She is proud of her body. She is an independent woman not to enslave to anyone even her husband. She can sway her husband around like a top. The broader mean is that “man” stand for people. She can sway people conception about her, her race, her identity as a black woman. Her Hips need more space to move around means very little in physical aspect but it has more meaning as she, a black woman, would like to have more freedom, freedom to go outside socially than to be confined in a limited space at home.

  • Dom Hynes (9/14/2009 9:30:00 PM)

    Hey, Eseta O Poulivaati. This is one of my favorite poems as well. We read it in class and explicated it a bit. I was glad to hear that the poem was able to get you a good grade in your english class. I think my class enjoyed the poem as well. Take care

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