Route One Reads

Ready for a literary road trip? Check out Route One Reads!

Route One Reads logo

Route One Reads is a special partnership connecting the East Coast Centers for the Book from Maine all the way to Florida. Following an annual theme, each Center for the Book selects a book to represent its state on our collective reading list.

The theme for 2021 is “Poetry.”

Visit the Route One Reads website to see how you can travel 2,369 miles and explore 15 states plus DC, all from the comfort of your favorite reading nook!



How to Carry Water: Selected Poems

by Lucille Clifton

This year's Route 1 Reads selection is a collection of poetry written by Lucille Clifton, former Poet Laureate of Maryland. This collection celebrates both familiar and lesser-known works by one of America's most beloved poets, including 10 newly discovered poems that have never been collected.

  • About the Author

    Lucille Clifton (1936-2010) was an award winning poet, fiction writer, and author of children’s books. She was the Poet Laureate of Maryland from 1979 to 1985. Her poetry collection Blessing the Boats: New & Selected Poems 1988-2000 (BOA, 2000) won the National Book Award for Poetry. In 1988, she became the only author to have two collections selected in the same year as finalists for the Pulitzer Prize: Good Woman: Poems and a Memoir (BOA, 1987) and Next: New Poems (BOA, 1987). In 1996, her collection The Terrible Stories (BOA, 1996), was a finalist for the National Book Award. Among her many other awards and accolades are the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, the Frost Medal, and an Emmy Award. In 2013, her posthumously published collection The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton 1965-2010 (BOA 2012), was awarded the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for Poetry.

  • About the Book

    How to Carry Water: Selected Poems of Lucille Clifton celebrates both familiar and lesser-known works by one of America’s most beloved poets, including 10 newly discovered poems that have never been collected.

    These poems celebrating black womanhood and resilience shimmer with intellect, insight, humor, and joy, all in Clifton’s characteristic style—a voice that the late Toni Morrison described as “seductive with the simplicity of an atom, which is to say highly complex, explosive underneath an apparent quietude.” Selected and introduced by award-winning poet Aracelis Girmay, this volume of Clifton’s poetry is simultaneously timeless and fitting for today’s tumultuous moment.

Past Picks

2020 (Theme: Historical Fiction) — The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey
2019 (Theme: Cookbooks) — The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South by Michael Twitty
2018 (Theme: Romance) — Come Sundown by Nora Roberts
2017 (Theme: Biography/Memoir) — Robert Lowell, Setting the River on Fire: A Study of Genius, Mania, and Character by Kay Redfield Jamison
2016 (Theme: Mystery) — Wilde Lake by Laura Lippman
2015 (Theme: Travel) — Kindred by Octavia E. Butler

Maryland Humanities is a statewide, educational nonprofit organization that creates and supports educational experiences in the humanities that inspire all Marylanders to embrace lifelong learning, exchange ideas openly, and enrich their communities.
Maryland Humanities
108 West Centre Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21201-4565
(410) 685-0095
(410) 685-0795 fax
Join the Conversation   TwitterFacebookYouTube
Featured Donor or Partner
National Endowment for the Humanities logo