I don't feel any commitment to any external idea of the truth. I feel like the making of the thing is the truth, will make its own truth.
Award-Winning Poet and Essayist
Claudia Rankine is the author of five collections of poetry, including Citizen: An American Lyric, which uses poetry, essay, cultural criticism, and visual images to explore what it means to be an American citizen in a "post-racial" society. A defining text for our time, Citizen was the winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry, the NAACP Image Award, and the LA Times Book Award for poetry, among others. It was also a finalist for the National Book Award and was selected as an NPR Best Book, with the citation: "This collection examines everyday encounters with racism in the second person, forcing the reader—regardless of identity—to engage a narrative haunted by the deaths of Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin and Renisha McBride."
In her newest work, Just Us: An American Conversation (Graywolf Press, now out in paperback), Rankine questions what it means to interrogate white privilege, well-meaning liberal politics, and white male aggression in our current age. Her most intimate work yet, Just Us urges us to come together during this divisive moment in history and discover what it might mean to disrupt our beliefs and imagine a way forward, together and with our eyes open.
Through her work, Rankine has become a cultural figure whose genre-melding and innovative art challenges the complacency of contemporary American society. Whether examining the broader implications of structural racism or revealing the internal and personal effects of oppression, Rankine's writings invariably contain a strong moral vision that calls on all of us to rally around her cry.
Closed captioning is provided for all virtual Talk of the Stacks events. To use closed captioning during a virtual program, click the "CC" icon and choose "Show Subtitles."