Tribute to Michelle Cliff
An evening celebrating and reintroducing the bold, mysterious and prophetic work of the late Jamaican/American writer Michelle Cliff (1946-2015).
Honor Moore, Creative Writing Program faculty and Nonfiction Coordinator will read from and talk about Michelle Cliff with Suzanne Gardinier, poet, novelist and friend of Cliff; Tiphanie Yanique, fiction writer and former New School faculty member who considers Cliff an influence; and the critic Joshua Jelly -Schapiro, author of Island People: the Caribbean and the World.
In her startling and ambitious first works, Notes on Speechlessness, The Land of Look Behind, and Claiming an Identity They Taught Me to Despise, Cliff enacted her origins and emergence as a gender-nonconforming radical feminist writer of the Caribbean diaspora. "I and Jamaica is who I am," she wrote. "No matter how far I travel -- how deep the ambivalence I feel about ever returning." Following those collections of poems and lyric prose came, in swift succession, the novels and short story collections Abeng, No Telephone to Heaven, Free Enterprise: a novel of Mary Ellen Pleasant, Journey Into the Interior, and The Store of a Million Items, among others. Cliff, who was the life partner of the late Adrienne Rich, is considered a forerunner of the contemporary flowering of Caribbean and Caribbean-American writing.
"Michelle Cliff was a close friend and inspiring colleague of mine for many years," says Honor Moore, poet andmemoirist; "when we talk about the explosion of radical feminist literary art that began among women of color in the early 1980s, Michelle Cliff is a prescient and crucial voice."
Read the New York Times obituary here.
Photograph by Noel Furie.
Sponsored by the Creative Writing Program.