Introduction & Overview of Climbing

This Study Guide consists of approximately 21 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Climbing.
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Climbing Summary & Study Guide Description

Climbing Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Further Reading on Climbing by Lucille Clifton.

"Climbing" is the first original poem in Lucille Clifton's collection The Book of Light, published by Copper Canyon Press, in 1993. It is in a section titled "Reflection," which comes directly after a found poem, "Light." In a lyric of twelve short lines, Clifton uses simple, accessible language to imagine what it would be like to be sixty years old. The speaker imagines herself in the future and uses that image to make statements to herself about what might have been different in her life. The poem's tone, however, is not one of despair but rather of achievement. The speaker doesn't really wish she had made other choices; rather, she seems proud of the decisions she has made and acknowledges the struggle ahead as she ages. Themes that the poem addresses include the relationship between ageing and desire, time and regret, and the ways in which self-image changes as human beings age. Clifton was in her midfifties when she wrote the poem, and there is much autobiographical material in it. The title of the collection could just as easily have been called The Book of Lucille, as Lucille derives from the Latin word lucius, meaning "light." Many of the poems in the collection address family members, both dead and alive, and a few poems address political figures, such as Senator Jesse Helms, and fictional figures, such as Clark Kent. Some are dramatic monologues, others confessional lyrics. All of the poems are marked by revelation and insight and evoke universal experiences to appeal to readers.

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This section contains 254 words
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Poetry for Students
Climbing from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.