Claudia Rankine, the Henry G. Lee Professor of English at Pomona College and a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, is interviewed in The New Yorker today about the intersection of poetry, how many have turned to Langston Hughes' poem "Let America Be America Again" as a way of responding to Ferguson, racism and inequality, and her upcoming book, Citizen: An American Lyric (Graywolf Press, October 2014).
The book addresses moments of everyday racism through vignettes based on real stories and written in the second person about seemingly small instances that add up to othering people. Rankine was traveling in the Ferguson, Missouri, region, and after Michael Brown was killed by police and unrest erupted, she decided to extend her trip to speak with people in Ferguson about what they are thinking and feeling.
Rankine was recently awarded the 2014 Jackson Poetry Prize, which honors an American poet of exceptional talent who deserves wider recognition. The judges noted, "The moral vision of Claudia Rankine's poetry is astounding."
To learn more about Rankine and to experience her work, visit claudiarankine.com.