Subseries 2.3
Prose and translations, 1969-2001
Boxes 24-31 and 85; OP 3

Scope and Content Note

Clifton's prose subseries includes a range of book length and short works from 1969-2001. The book-length works (Subseries 2.2a) are comprised of her published and unpublished children's stories and her memoir Generations, written in 1976. Clifton's children's books are thematically centered on issues of race, changing family dynamics, death, bullying from peers, etc. Among her published children's books, Clifton's most widely known are her Everett Anderson series, stories that detail the coming of age of a young African American boy. In addition to the typescript drafts of her children's fiction, the subseries also includes illustration proofs from the multiple illustrators who collaborated with her on various children's book projects. Also in this series are Clifton's unpublished children's stories. Similar to her published children's books, these stories facilitate children's understanding of the particular life changes associated with growing older. This subseries of book length works also includes the personal notes, research materials, and typescript drafts of her memoir, Generations, written early in her career and detailing the lives of her mother's and father's families.

Clifton's other prose (Subseries 2.2b) features a range of short works, including essays, interviews, short stories, speeches, book reviews, poem translations and spirit writing. Many of Clifton's essays and short stories were published in popular magazines, such as Essence and Redbook, and focus on personal and familial struggles. Researchers will also find numerous interview transcripts, and Clifton's translation of two poems, "Africa" and "Black Woman," from French into English. A limited number of Clifton's book reviews and speeches are also included in this subseries, as well as translations by others of Clifton's poetry.

The last section of this subseries (2.3c) is comprised of Clifton's spirit writing, spanning from roughly the mid 1970s to 1980s. Spirit writing, generically defined as the practice of unconscious writing with no regard to what is actually being transcribed, was used by Clifton more specifically to communicate with the spirit world. Clifton's spirit writing includes book length drafts in with explanations of how she came to spirit channeling, descriptions of her connections with the dead, and transcriptions of poems Clifton claims to have been passed to her from now dead poets.

Arrangement Note

Organized into three subseries: (2.3a) Book length works, (2.3b) Other prose and poetry translations, and (2.3c) Spirit writing.

Description of Subseries