Rankine has published several collections of poetry, including Citizen: An American Lyric (2014), a finalist for the National Book Award and the first two-category finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; Don’t Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric (2004); and Nothing in Nature is Private (1994), which won the Cleveland State Poetry Prize. Her work often crosses genres as it tracks wild and precise movements of mind. Noting that “hers is an art neither of epiphany nor story,” critic Calvin Bedient observed that “Rankine’s style is the sanity, but just barely, of the insanity, the grace, but just barely, of the grotesqueness.” Discussing the borrowed and fragmentary sources for her work in an interview with Paul Legault for the Academy of American Poets, Rankine stated, “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.”
Rankine has coedited American Women Poets in the 21st Century: Where Lyric Meets Language (2002), American Poets in the 21st Century: The New Poetics (2007), and The Racial Imaginary: Writers on Race in the Life of the Mind (2014). 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). Her play Detour/South Bronx premiered in 2009 at New York’s Foundry Theater.
Rankine has been awarded fellowships from the Academy of American Poets, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Lannan Foundation. In 2013, she was elected as a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, and in 2014 she received a Lannan Literary Award. She has taught at the University of Houston, Case Western Reserve University, Barnard College, and Pomona College.
Discover this poet’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.
Poems By CLAUDIA RANKINE
- from Citizen: “You are in the dark, in the car...”
- from Citizen: “Some years there exists a wanting to escape...”
- from Don't Let Me Be Lonely: “There is a button on the remote control called FAV...”
- from Don't Let Me Be Lonely: “I don't usually talk to strangers...”
- from Don't Let Me Be Lonely: “A father tells his son the thing he regrets most about his life...”
Audio & PodcastsPoem of the Day Poem of the Day Poem of the Day The Poetry Magazine Podcast
"Without the Blues There Would Be No Jazz"
The editors discuss poems by Danez Smith, Franny Choi, and Claudia Rankine, plus Nikky Finney on the poetry of James Baldwin.