04/17/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Lucille Clifton Dies: Poet Laureate of Maryland Dead At 73

Former state poet laureate Lucille Clifton, a National Book Award winner whose work was lauded for its "moral quality," died Saturday at Johns Hopkins Hospital after a long battle with cancer and other illnesses. She was 73.

With a mix of profundity, earthiness and humor -- amply evident in her 11 books of poetry -- Ms. Clifton often defied conventional notions of poetic expression, but in many ways her themes were traditional, Wallace R. Peppers wrote in the Dictionary of Literary Biography.

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