Lectures, Other

The Racial Imaginary and American Poetry

2017–2018 Kim and Judy Davis Dean’s Lecture
Photo courtesy of John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur FoundationPhoto courtesy of John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Claudia Rankine reads from her award-winning book, Citizen: An American Lyric (Graywolf Press, 2014) and discusses how racial imaginaries assert themselves in the history of American poetry.

Rankine is the author of five collections of poetry, including Citizen and Don’t Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric (Graywolf Press, 2004), and two plays, including Provenance of Beauty: A South Bronx Travelogue (2009). She has also taken part in numerous video collaborations and is the editor of several anthologies, including The Racial Imaginary: Writers on Race in the Life of the Mind (Fence Books, 2015).

For Citizen, Rankine won a Forward Prize for Poetry, the National Book Critics Circle Award for poetry (also nominated in the criticism category, it was the first book in the award’s history to be a double nominee), the Los Angeles Times Book Award, and the PEN Open Book Award. A finalist for the National Book Award, Citizen also holds the distinction of being the only poetry book to be a New York Times best seller in the nonfiction category.

Among Rankine’s numerous awards and honors are a Lannan Foundation Literary Award for Poetry, the Poets & Writers Jackson Poetry Prize, the Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry, and fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, the National Endowment of the Arts, and United States Artists. She is a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and teaches at Yale University as the Frederick Iseman Professor of Poetry.

Free and open to the public.