A provocative meditation on race, Claudia Rankine’s long-awaited follow up to her groundbreaking book Don’t Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric
An American Lyric
- Finalist for the 2014 National Book Award in Poetry
Winner of the 2014 National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry
Finalist for the 2014 National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism
Winner of the 2015 PEN Open Book Award
Winner of the 2015 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award in Poetry
Claudia Rankine’s bold new book recounts mounting racial aggressions in ongoing encounters in twenty-first-century daily life and in the media. Some of these encounters are slights, seemingly slips of the tongue, and some are intentional offensives in the classroom, at the supermarket, at home, on the tennis court with Serena Williams and the soccer field with Zinedine Zidane, online, on TV—everywhere, all the time. The accumulative stresses come to bear on a person’s ability to speak, perform, and stay alive. Our addressability is tied to the state of our belonging, Rankine argues, as are our assumptions and expectations of citizenship. In essay, image, and poetry, Citizen is a powerful testament to the individual and collective effects of racism in our contemporary, often named “post-race” society.
- “[Citizen] is an especially vital book for this moment in time. . . . As Rankine’s brilliant, disabusing work, always aware of its ironies, reminds us, ‘moving on’ is not synonymous with ‘leaving behind.’”—The New Yorker
- “Rankine brilliantly pushes poetry’s forms to disarm readers and circumvent our carefully constructed defense mechanisms against the hint of possibly being racist ourselves.”—The New York Times Book Review
- “Part protest lyric, part art book, Citizen is a dazzling expression of the painful double consciousness of black life in America.” —The Washington Post
- “Rankine defies genre and writes honestly and relentlessly about being black in modern America. This book is necessary in every sense of the word.”—Roxane Gay, Esquire
This book is made possible through a partnership with the College of Saint Benedict, and honors the legacy of S. Mariella Gable, a distinguished teacher at the College. Support has been provided by the Manitou Fund as part of the Warner Reading Program.