Kane Hall Room 130 University District
Tues May 15, 7:30 pm
Recommended by Rich Smith
It's hard to overstate the impact of Claudia Rankine's work on American poetry over the course of the last seven years or so. In 2011, she confronted fellow poet Tony Hoagland for writing a poem that contained racist sentiments, claiming that it was "for white people." That poem was called "The Change," and in many ways, their exchange reinvigorated—or at least brought national attention to—a conversation about race, poetry, and the lack of diversity in the literary world, a conversation that thankfully continues apace today. Citizen: An American Lyric, a collage of images and poems about microaggressions and the limitations of language and the experiences of people of color living in a white-supremacist culture, was published in 2014 and won the National Book Critics Circle Award in poetry. Since the book's release, the first thought that enters my head when I hear news of a police officer gunning down another (and another, and another) unarmed black man comes from this book. She writes: "Because white men can't police their imagination, black men are dying."
4069 Spokane Ln, Seattle, WA