Citizen Cover


An American Lyric

By Claudia Rankine

Graywolf Press, Paperback, 9781555976903, 169pp.

Publication Date: October 7, 2014


* Finalist for the National Book Award in Poetry *
* Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry * Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism * Winner of the NAACP Image Award * Winner of the L.A. Times Book Prize * Winner of the PEN Open Book Award *
"The New Yorker," "Boston Globe, " "The Atlantic, " "BuzzFeed, " NPR. "Los Angeles Times, "" Publishers Weekly," "Slate, " "Time Out New York," "Vulture," "Refinery 29, " and many more . . .
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.

About the Author
Claudia Rankine is the author of Don't Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric (Graywolf Press, 2004), Plot (Grove Press, 2001), The End of the Alphabet (Grove Press, 1998), and NOTHING IN NATURE IS PRIVATE (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 1994). She is co-editor, with Juliana Spahr, of American Women Poets in the 21st Century: Where Lyric Meets Language (Wesleyan University Press, 2002).

Praise For Citizen

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

Saturday, Jan 3, 2015

For her latest collection, Claudia Rankine mined her and her friends' encounters with racism. She says she wanted to talk about "what happens when we fail each other as people." More at

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Thursday, Nov 20, 2014

Poet Tess Taylor reviews "Citizen: An American Lyric" by Claudia Rankine. It's been nominated for a National Book Award. More at

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