An American Lyric

Book - 2015
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In this moving, critical and fiercely intelligent collection of prose poems, Claudia Rankine examines the experience of race and racism in Western society through sharp vignettes of everyday discrimination and prejudice, and longer meditations on the violence - whether linguistic or physical - which has impacted the lives of Serena Williams, Zinedine Zidane, Mark Duggan and others. Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Poetry 'Everywhere were flashes, a siren sounding and a stretched-out roar. Get on the ground. Get on the ground now. Then I just knew.' 'And you are not the guy and still you fit the description because there is only one guy who is always the guy fitting the description.' 'Wonderfully capacious and innovative. In her riffs on the demotic, in her layering of incident, Rankine finds a new way of writing about race in America.' Nick Laird, New York Review of Books ' Citizen feels raw . . . this documentary-style look at America has catapulted Rankine into the spotlight . . . She speaks to the vastly different ways racism and injustice are perpetuated across class lines in America today.' Smitha Khorana, Guardian US 'Rankine brilliantly pushes poetry's forms . . . one is left with a mix of emotions that linger and wend themselves into the subconscious.' Holly Bass, The New York Times
Publisher: London : Penguin Books Ltd, 2015.
ISBN: 9780141981772
Characteristics: 176 p. : 21 ; 20 cm.


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Cynthia_N Oct 26, 2017

Very powerful and some of it just shocking. Great read!

LPL_ShirleyB Aug 15, 2017

Savor this wise, lyrical prose of race awareness. And meet Rankine in person September 7, 2017 at KU's Lied Center in Lawrence, KS.

Jul 07, 2017

A collection of poems, notes for scripts, artwork and descriptions of situations. Racism is alive and well in the U.S. of A.

AL_MARINA Feb 13, 2017

Fearlessly, Rankine lyrically dissects shadow side of the American racial psyche. From the not-so-old wounds of slavery to the still bleeding ones that have sparked the Black Lives Matter movement, she succinctly illustrates the heavy weight of racial disparity and the reality of being black in America.

PimaLib_RachelW Sep 27, 2016

Claudia Rankine was just announced as a 2016 MacArthur Foundation Genius Award winner!

“While our communities, our nation, and our world face both historic and emerging challenges, these 23 extraordinary individuals give us ample reason for hope. They are breaking new ground in areas of public concern, in the arts, and in the sciences, often in unexpected ways. Their creativity, dedication, and impact inspire us all.”

—MacArthur President Julia Stasch

Read her books to find out why!

LPL_KateG Nov 30, 2015

I have a mental list going of "Things White People Should Read" - books that expose areas of privilege and oppression of which we may not be otherwise aware. Citizen by Claudia Rankine is a poetic, lyrical addition to this list.

SchroederTribe Aug 06, 2015

Incredibly beautiful and savage and heartbreaking. Somehow her poets voice immerses the reader into the injustice and the harm - not just John Henryism but PTSD that is the African American experience in an honest way. Taking the reader by the hand to bear witness.

On Serena:
"Perhaps the committee's decision is only about context, though context is not meaning. It is a public event being watched in homes across the world. In any case, it is difficult not to think that if Sernea lost context by abandoning all rules of civility, it coule b because her body, trapped in racial imaginary, trapped in disbelief --code for being black in America -- is being governed not by the tennis match she is participating in but by a collapsed relationship that had promised to play by the rules. Perhaps this is how racism feels no matter the context --randomly the rules everyone else gets to play out "I swear to GOD!" is to be called insane, crass, crazy. Bad sportsmanship. (30)

Feb 18, 2015

This amazing book is about the small moments that make someone feel less than, adding up over a lifetime, as the author says, "the anger built up through experience and the quotidian struggles against dehumanization every brown or black person lives simply because of skin color." And she asks if rage is not the most reasonable response to injustice, then what is?

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