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An American Lyric
Claudia Rankine
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.

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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

About the Author

Claudia  Rankine
Credit: John Lucas
Claudia Rankine is the author of Citizen: An American Lyric and four previous books, including Don’t Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric. Her work has appeared recently in the Guardian, the New York Times Book Review, the New York Times Magazine, and the Washington Post. She is a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, the winner of the 2014 Jackson Poetry Prize, and a contributing editor of Poets & Writers. She received a MacArthur Fellowship in 2016. Rankine is the Frederick Iseman Professor of Poetry at Yale University.
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Upcoming Events

Claudia Rankine reading at Old Dominion University as part of NEA Big Read

Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VAview map
Location: Big Blue Room, Ted Constant Center.

Layli Long Soldier and Claudia Rankine in conversation as part of the PEN Out Loud Series at The New School

New School in New York, NYview map
Location: John L. Tishman Auditorium, 63 5th Avenue. Tickets are $20. Visit for more information and to purchase tickets. 

Claudia Rankine reading at University of Baltimore as part of NEA Big Read

University of Baltimore in Baltimore, MDview map
Location: John and Frances Angelos Law Center. This event is sold out, please add your name to the waitlist and you will be contacted if a ticket becomes available.

Claudia Rankine reading at the National Museum of African American History & Culture

National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DCview map
"A Seat at the Table: On Race and the Imagination." In conversation with Brian Gilmore. Location: Heritage Hall. Doors open 6:15 PM. Tickets are $50.

Claudia Ranking reading at the University of Connecticut as part of the 56th Annual Wallace Stevens Poetry Program

Univ Conn in Storrs, CTview map
Location: Konover Auditorium.

Claudia Rankine reading at the University of Michigan as part of the Visiting Writers Series

Univ Missouri in Columbia, MOview map
Location: Stotler Lounge, Memorial Union North.

Claudia Rankine reading as part of Pittsburgh Arts and Lectures' Poets Aloud

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, PAview map
In conversation with Carrie Mae Weems. Tickets are free for this event.

Claudia Rankine reading as part of the Villanova University Literary Festival

Villanova Univ in Villanova, PAview map
Location: Connelly Center Cinema.

Claudia Rankine appearing at the Walker Art Center

Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, MNview map
"Notes on The White Card." Tickets are $25.

Claudia Rankine delivering the Robert Chasen Memorial Poetry Reading at Cornell University

Cornell Univ in Ithaca, NYview map
Location: Alice Statler Auditorium. Free admission — ticket required.

Claudia Rankine reading at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Univ Illinois-- Urbana-Champaign in Urbana, ILview map
Location: Alice Campbell Alumni Center.

Claudia Rankine and Tracy K. Smith appearing at New York Live Arts

New York Live Arts in New York, NYview map
In conversation with Bill T. Jones. Tickets start at $10.

Claudia Rankine reading as part of the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival

Sunken Garden Poetry Festival in Farmington, CTview map
Reading with Emily Skillings. Music by Jeff Barnhart Duo Ivory & Gold. Tickets are $15-20.


  • “[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.
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