| Quote #1
these hips are big hips
The "petty places" the speaker references are a metaphor for the petty aspects of society which try to judge the speaker (and maybe even women in general) by fitting her into small, limiting stereotypes.
| Quote #2
In many ways, this poem enacts the process of a woman taking control of her own body – and by extension, her own life. She's free, just like her hips are free.
| Quote #3
they don't like to be held back. (8)
Clifton's making an oblique reference here to a rather long history of repression, when women had less access to education, jobs, and all sorts of opportunities for advancement.