Flammable, A Poet of the Monk 'Illumine': A Study of Creativity in the Poetry of Lucie Brock Broido and Lucille Clifton

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American Literature


Eva Hooker


The essay examines poetic creativity as it is described in the collected work of Luci Brock-Broido and Lucille Clifton. It considers dominant images and metaphors for creativity and the peot's creative process. The essay is seven sections: 1) The Light; 2) The Monk "Illumine"; 3) Flammable, A poet and the Other Self; 4) Voices; 5) The Unsafe Place; 6) "It's a Poet Thing"; and 7) The Particular Path. An introductory poem and prose and a conclusion frame the essay. A brief synopsis of the major findings: like illuminating an old biblical text, the poet, suspended between worlds, gives new light to old poetic truths. She hears old and divine voices; the light fills her almost to breaking. She is a sage of ancient knowing. If she allows herself to fall completely into the human world, her luminosity will disappear. She will cease to glow with the light from the creative world. If she falls completely into the black hole of creativity, she will become flammable, a poet. She will be consumed by the light. She will burn into oblivion like the star that made the black hole.