Armed with the belief that a better life could only be accomplished by individuals accepting personal responsibility, Lucille Clifton revolutionized the power of positive affirmations. Born in Depew, New York, she received early encouragement from her mother, who was also a poet, to write her own compositions.

After leaving Howard University in 1955 to fully dedicate her profession to poetry, Clifton's first book, Good Times, was published in 1969. From there, she worked in various roles with the state and federal government until she was hired at Coppin State College in Baltimore, Maryland in 1971 to be a writer in residence. Clifton's finest Maryland acknowledgement was in 1979, when she became the second woman and the first Black person to be named as the state's Poet Laureate. She held this title until 1982.

She continued to publish many more compositions and poems throughout her adult years, venturing into children's literature at the tail end of her career. Clifton passed away in Baltimore on February 13, 2010.

There's no limit to the impact Clifton has when it comes to verse, but the the following five poems are just a glimpse into why she is regarded as one of the most gifted thinkers of our time.