This talk by Marina Magloire will use unpublished archives to discuss the poet Lucille Clifton's little-known practice of automatic writing and spirit communication. Her spirit communication spanned decades and encompassed everything from past life regressions to conversations with departed spirits as diverse as Langston Hughes, Beethoven, Billie Holiday, and Jesus. Magloire argues that throughout Clifton’s poetry, she insists upon the primacy and specificity of her black woman’s body as a site of spiritual encounter, even as her spirit communication complicates the notion of black feminist embodiment by presenting the black woman’s body as one transitory incarnation among many.
Marina Magloire is a black feminist scholar of African American and diasporic literature. Her current book project explores the influence of Afro-Caribbean spirituality on black American women writers and performers in the twentieth century.