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  • Writer's pictureEvangeline Lawson

Citizen by Claudie Rankine (A Review)

Claudia Rankine is a truthteller who does not shy away from discussions about race. As obvious as Black is, she reminds us all of the feelings we carry, examine, and at times deny living as Black people, who are often rendered invisible. But her words aren't preachy. What they are though, are a revealing exposition of the mind; what we tell ourselves as we process our experiences.

In a collaborative essay about Hurricaine Katrina Rankine writes, "He gave me a flashlight, she said, I didn't want to turn it on. It was all black. I didn't want to shine a light on simply get chills every time you see these poor individuals, so many of these people almost all of them that we see, are so poor, someone else said, and they are so black."

Claudia Rankine, although an award winning lauded writer, is like many of us, tussling with the idea of being exceptional, allowed and tolerated at the intersections of racism and classism. What is beautiful about her work is that she dances between genres to illustrate these dynamics, but also in ways as confirmation that what we are seeing, feeling and wrestling with is indeed valid.

Citizen: An American Lyric demonstrates that tango of essay and poetry, along with images that exemplify a stream of conciousness. Not just hers, ours. #nationalpoetrymonth

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