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.
ReviewPraise for Citizen:
Finalist for the 2014 National Book Award in Poetry
One of the Millions Most Anticipated Books
«Accounts of racially charged interactions, insidious and flagrant, transpiring in private and in the public eye, distill the immediate emotional intensity of individual experience with tremendous precision while allowing ambiguity, ambivalence, contradiction, and exhaustion to remain in all their fraught complexity. … Once again Rankine inspires sympathy and outrage, but most of all a will to take a deep look at ourselves and our society.» —Publishers Weekly, starred review
«A prism of personal perspectives illuminates [Rankine's] meditations on race. … Powerful.» —Kirkus Reviews
«Claudia Rankine's Citizen comes at you like doom. It's the best note in the wrong song that is America. Its various realities—'mistaken' identity, social racism, the whole fabric of urban and suburban life—are almost too much to bear, but you bear them, because it's the truth. Citizen is Rankine's Spoon River Anthology, an epic as large and frightening and beautiful as the country and various emotional states that produced it.» —Hilton Als
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
About the AuthorClaudia 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.