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“Homage to My Hips” by Clifton

If anyone is asked in a small town, two-hour drive away from New Orleans, whether they know Lucie, their faces will be filled with joy as they begin speaking about the young, but already not so young, girl. Lucie is a brave and proud individual – she can make almost anyone smile and can talk on any topic whatsoever, turning one’s bad day around and adding a sweet topping of light laughter to the cake of positivity.

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She works at a local breakfast eatery as a waitress but is ready to substitute even the cook if needed, saving money for college. Lucie graduated from high school a few years ago and decided to raise some funds before moving to a different place to follow her dreams at a university. No wonder Lucille Clifton featured Lucie in the “homage to my hips” poem during one of her Louisiana visits.

A spark of energy and brightness, confidence, and dedication are just a few ways locals would describe her. Lucie likes to wear colorful clothes, and she is not afraid of mixing them and trying new combinations. She looks very soft in her appearance both physically and spiritually, yet Lucie is strong, goal-oriented, and sometimes stubborn. Like her “big hips” that “need space … [and] don’t fit into little petty places”, Lucie’s ideas and personality cannot be limited and chained to a little town in Louisiana even though she genuinely loves it (Clifton, 1987, lines 1-5). During her recent visit to New Orleans, she was inspired by the independence and freedom displayed through street jazz concerts and people, many different people. After that, Lucie organized the first jazz and music night in her hometown, which has been happening every Friday ever since.

This young African American girl is free and independent, which she values the most and wants everyone to have such a privilege as well. Like Lucie’s hips that “have never been enslaved”, her mind is full of ideas, which she can realize wherever and whenever she wants without any restrictions or limitations (Clifton, 1987, line 8). Lucie fights for freedom and women’s rights – she is the one who opened the local trust and support group, which is intended to provide basic psychological help to anyone regardless of their gender and story.

Her hips are truly “mighty … [and] magic hips” that inspire local residents and make their lives better (Clifton, 1987, lines 11-12). Visiting the breakfast eatery she works at, even people who are not familiar with the town would feel comfortable and safe. Lucie is an active and responsible member of her hometown community. Despite her soft and friendly appearance, she can stand up for herself and her loved ones.

Just a few hours away from New Orleans lies a town that lives in joy and happiness. Lucie from Lucille Clifton’s “homage to my hips” plays a key role in making this place so united. She works at a local eatery and can make anyone feel at home and safe regardless of who they are. Lucie is an active individual who promotes freedom and helps others. She is proud of herself and her community and wants to make people’s lives better. Some of her initiatives are widely accepted among the residents and have helped her hometown improve. Even after Lucie leaves for college, the little town will preserve her friendly, welcoming, and bright spirit.


Clifton, L. (1987). homage to my hips. Poetry Foundation. Web.

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