Celebrated Poet Claudia Rankine To Visit GCC May 1

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Poet Claudia Rankine will visit Gateway Community College on Tuesday, May 1, at 10:00 a.m. The visit, which will be held in the Curran Community Room, N100, is the final event connected to The Big Read, an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest that encourages conversation and discovery through reading. The 2018 Big Read centers on Claudia Rankine's book Citizen: An American Lyric.

A meditation on race, Citizen: An American Lyric was a 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 and winner of the PEN Open Book Award.

Rankine was born in Kingston, Jamaica and earned a BA at Williams College and an MFA at Columbia University. She is the recipient of the Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry, the Poets & Writers’ Jackson Poetry Prize, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Lannan Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, United States Artists, and the National Endowment of the Arts. Her poems have been included in the anthologies Great American Prose Poems: From Poe to the Present (2003), Best American Poetry (2001), and The Garden Thrives: Twentieth Century African-American Poetry (1996).

She is a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and teaches at Yale University as the Frederick Iseman Professor of Poetry. Previously she has taught at the University of Houston, Case Western Reserve University, Barnard College, and Pomona College.

Kim Healey, executive director of the NewAlliance Foundation, will introduce Rankine.



Words work as release—well-oiled doors opening and closing between intention, gesture. A pulse in a neck, the shiftiness of the hands, an unconscious blink, the conversations you have with your eyes translate everything and nothing. What will be needed, what goes unfelt, unsaid—what has been duplicated, redacted here, redacted there, altered to hide or disguise—words encoding the bodies they cover. And despite everything the body remains.

Occasionally it is interesting to think about the outburst if you would just cry out—

To know what you’ll sound like is worth noting—

— from Citizen: An American Lyric