Claudia Rankine

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Claudia Rankine
Author Photo of Claudia Rankine.jpg
Rankine in 2016
Born 1963
Occupation Professor
Nationality American
Alma mater Williams College;
Columbia University
Genre Poetry; Playwright
Notable awards MacArthur Fellow

Claudia Rankine (/ˈræŋkɪn/; born 1963) is a poet, essayist, playwright and the editor of several anthologies. She is the author of five volumes of poetry, two plays and various essays.

Her most recent work, the book-length poem, Citizen: An American Lyric, won the 2014 Los Angeles Times Book Award, the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry (the first book in the award’s history to be nominated in both poetry and criticism), the 2015 Forward Prize for Best Collection, the 2015 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award in Poetry, the 2015 NAACP Image Award in poetry, the 2015 PEN Open Book Award, the 2015 PEN American Center USA Literary Award, the 2015 PEN Oakland-Josephine Miles Literary Award and the 2015 VIDA Literary Award. Citizen was also a finalist for the 2014 National Book Award and was the 2015 T.S. Eliot Prize. Citizen holds the distinction of being the only poetry book to be a New York Times bestseller in the nonfiction category.

Rankine's numerous awards and honors include the 2014 Morton Dauwen Zabel Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the 2014 Jackson Poetry Prize, as well as a 2014 Lannan Foundation Literary Award. In 2005, shee was awarded the Academy Fellowship for distinguished poetic achievement by the Academy of American Poets. She is a 2016 United States Artist Zell Fellow and a 2016 MacArthur Fellow.

Rankine has recently held a position at Pomona College. She is presently the Frederick Iseman Professor of Poetry at Yale University and a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

Life and work[edit]

Rankine was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and educated at Williams College and Columbia University. Her work has appeared in many journals, including Harper's, GRANTA, the Kenyon Review, and the Lana Turner Journal. She also co-edits (with Lisa Sewell) the anthology series American Women Poets in the 21st Century: Where Lyric Meets Language.

Winner of an Academy of American Poets fellowship, Rankine's work Don't Let Me Be Lonely (2004), an experimental project, has been acclaimed for its unique blend of poetry, essay, lyric and television imagery. About this volume, poet Robert Creeley wrote, "Claudia Rankine here manages an extraordinary melding of means to effect the most articulate and moving testament to the bleak times we live in I’ve yet seen. It’s master work in every sense, and altogether her own."[1]

"Not long ago you are in a room where someone asks the philosopher Judith Butler what makes language hurtful. You can feel everyone lean in. Our very being exposes us to the address of another, she answers. We suffer from the condition of being addressable. Our emotional openness, she adds, is carried by our addressability. Language navigates this.

For so long you thought the ambition of racist language was to denigrate and erase you as a person. After considering Butler’s remarks you begin to understand yourself as rendered hyper-visible in the face of such language acts. Language that feels hurtful is intended to exploit all the ways that you are present. Your alertness, your openness, your desire to engage actually demand your presence, your looking up, your talking back as insane as it is, saying please."

Claudia Rankine[2]

Rankine's play The Provenance of Beauty: A South Bronx Travelogue was a 2011 Distinguished Development Project Selection in the American Voices New Play Institute at Arena Stage.[3]

In 2014, Graywolf Press published her book of poetry, Citizen: An American Lyric,[4]

Rankine also works on documentary multimedia pieces with her husband, photographer/filmmaker John Lucas. These video essays are entitled Situations and are located on her website http://claudiarankine.com/.

About her work, the poet Mark Doty said: "Claudia Rankine’s formally inventive poems investigate many kinds of boundaries: the unsettled territory between poetry and prose, between the word and the visual image, between what it’s like to be a subject and the ways we’re defined from outside by skin color, economics, and global corporate culture. This fearless poet extends American poetry in invigorating new directions."[5]

Awards and honors[edit]

Selected publications[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Pomona College Magazine online: news release.
  2. ^ Step into a World: A Global Anthology of the New Black Literature page at African American Literature Book Club site.
  3. ^ "The Bollingen Prize for Poetry 2011 Winner". Beinecke.library.yale.edu. Retrieved June 18, 2011. 
  4. ^ Dan Chiasson, "Colour Codes", The New Yorker, October 27, 2014.
  5. ^ Claudia Rankine at poets.org.
  6. ^ a b "National Book Critics Circle Announces Finalists for Publishing Year 2014". National Book Critics Circle. January 19, 2015. Retrieved January 29, 2015. 
  7. ^ Alexandra Alter (March 12, 2015). "‘Lila’ Honored as Top Fiction by National Book Critics Circle". New York Times. Retrieved March 12, 2015. 
  8. ^ "84th Annual California Book Awards Winners". Commonwealth Club. 
  9. ^ "2015 PEN Literary Award Winners". PEN. May 8, 2015. Retrieved March 2, 2016. 
  10. ^ Carolyn Kellogg, "Claudia Rankine and Meghan Daum lead 2015 PEN Literary Awards", Los Angeles Times, September 10, 2015.
  11. ^ "Best Sellers". The New York Times. January 18, 2015. 
  12. ^ Carolyn Kellogg (April 18, 2015). "The winners of the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes are ...". 
  13. ^ "Winners of the '46th NAACP Image Awards'". NAACP. February 10, 2015. 
  14. ^ "Claudia Rankine's 'exhilarating' poetry wins Forward prize", BBC News, September 29, 2015.
  15. ^ Tristram Fane Saunders, "Claudia Rankine wins £10,000 Forward prize with book of prose poems", The Telegraph, September 30, 2015.

External links[edit]

External video
Interview w/Tavis Smiley, December 8, 2014; c. 15 minutes.
Book Discussion on Citizen: An American Lyric, C-SPAN, April 19, 2015