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Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine

By Claudia Rankine

A provocative meditation on race, Claudia Rankine’s long-awaited persist with as much as her groundbreaking booklet Don’t enable Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric

Claudia Rankine’s daring new publication recounts mounting racial aggressions in ongoing encounters in twenty-first-century everyday life and within the media. a few of these encounters are slights, seeming slips of the tongue, and a few are intentional offensives within the school room, on the grocery store, at domestic, at the tennis courtroom with Serena Williams and the football box with Zinedine Zidane, on-line, on TV—everywhere, for all time. The accumulative stresses come to undergo on a person’s skill to talk, practice, and remain alive. Our addressability is tied to the kingdom of our belonging, Rankine argues, as are our assumptions and expectancies of citizenship. In essay, picture, and poetry, Citizen is a strong testomony to the person and collective results of racism in our modern, usually named “post-race” society.

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Example text

I’m rolled about like nickels When he begins to run. I don’t remember food. I don’t remember drink. I don’t remember many things, And now I need to think, Of who I am and where I am, And how I came to be Inside this giant’s pocket, And how I might Slip Free. 58 The Gargoyle By Kevin McNamee High above the bustling street, I sit alone both day and night. My talons, horns, and outstretched wings Create a ghastly, gruesome sight. But if you look at me, you’ll see, I am not all that I appear. Come close, for I have tales to tell.

They’ll disappear into the well—those children won’t come back. 60 So if you ever chance upon that well within the vale, I pray you’ll stop and think about this cautionary tale. If fear beyond your wildest dreams is what you seek within, Then by all means, just go ahead, And throw your penny in. A Monster in My Bathroom By Christy Critchfield There’s a monster in my bathroom, Something hideous and vile. As I enter, I am frightened By its crooked, drooling smile. My heart—it stops. My breath—it quickens.

A sigh inside my closet, Behind my bed, a groan. Why must these ghosts get chatty Whenever I’m alone? Owl By Laura Wynkoop A shadow lurks among the leaves, Its amber eyes aglow. As still as stone, it guards the night Until it’s summoned into flight. With spectral wings, it rides the wind To prey on those below. 41 Our Neighborhood By Kevin McNamee Welcome to our neighborhood Where frightful things are seen, When you go trick-or-treating Down our street on Halloween. We’ve candy from the dollar store, At five bags for a buck.

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