Citizen: An American Lyric
Claudia Rankine’s book recounts mounting racial aggressions in ongoing encounters in 21st century daily life and in the media. 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 essays, images, and poetry, ‘Citizen’ is a powerful testament to the individual and collective effects of racism in our contemporary, ‘post-race’ society.
WINNER OF THE FORWARD PRIZE FOR BEST COLLECTION 2015
WINNER OF THE NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FOR POETRY 2015
WINNER OF THE PEN OPEN BOOK AWARD 2015
WINNER OF THE LOS ANGELES TIMES BOOK PRIZE FOR POETRY 2015
‘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.’
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.
Citizen weaves essays, images and poetry together to form a powerful testament to the individual and collective effects of racism in an ostensibly ‘post-race’ society.
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