Public Engagement

General Public

Tribute to Michelle Cliff

Tuesday, November 7, 2017 at 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm

Theresa Lang Community and Student Center, Arnhold Hall 55 West 13th Street, Room I-202, New York, NY 10011

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 DespiseCliff 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." 

Her several other novels, stories, poems and nonfiction are available only from third party sellers on line.

Read the New York Times obituary here.

Photograph by Noel Furie.

Sponsored by the Creative Writing Program.

Event Type

Author Readings and Discussions


General Public


Writing and Literature


Schools of Public Engagement, Creative Writing Program




Free to all.

Admin Notes

Approved PT

Recent Activity

Getting Here

Detailed Directions

By Train:
The 4, 5, 6, N, R, Q and L to 14th St./Union Square.
The A, C and E to 14th St. and 8th Ave.
The 1, 2 and 3 to 14th St. and 7th Ave.
The The F and M to 14th St. and 6th Ave.
PATH train to 14th St. and 6th Ave.