Claudia Rankine is the author of four previous books, including Don’t Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric. She currently is a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and teaches at Pomona College.
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
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, seeming 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.
Praise for Don’t Let Me Be Lonely
“Don’t Let Me Be Lonely records or annotates separate discrete episodes of consciousness; these accumulate, in this extraordinary book, into what seems less a sequence than a set of overlapping patterns. In place of smug moral judgments, Rankine contrives a mosaic of intimate vignettes and tense hypotheses; the whole has a complexity and density that makes it, I believe, the most devastating and convincing political poetry written by an American within memory . . . She has made of her savage and stern intelligence, her ruthlessness and her terror, great art. She has made poetry an astonishment again. All of us who write are most profoundly in her debt, as all who read will be in her power.” —Louise Glück, American Poet