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Themes

There's a reason that Clifton doesn't pen an ode to her elbow or her armpit. Don't get us wrong – they may be pretty amazing, as far as elbows and armpits go. We're just saying that choosing to focus on her speaker's hips allows Clifton to work with (and against) a whole slew of cultural notions that equate a woman's curves (i.e., her hips) with her sexuality. Clifton makes direct reference to the ways that her speaker's hips draw men to her like candy.

Questions About Sexuality and Sexual Identity

  1. How do the speaker's hips symbolize her sexuality?
  2. How would you describe the sexuality expressed in this poem?
  3. Do you think that the speaker's sexual identity is a healthy one? Why or why not?
  4. Why do you think the speaker is able to "spin" a man "like a top"?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

The speaker's sexual power has nothing to do with her hips – it's all in her self-confidence.

The speaker accesses her sexuality through her awareness of her amazing hips.

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