There are already plenty of glowing reviews out there for Claudia Rankine’s Citizen: An American Lyric (Graywolf 2014), which was recently named a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Awards (in two categories, no less), but this book deserves every accolade and rave out there. In a series of vignettes, poems, and “scripts”, arranged in a volume whose artful design makes it well worth it to get your hands on the real thing, Rankine expertly distills the human experience of racism. Readers will come to imagine both their participation and their victimization in a society which dehumanizes a people in the smallest, darkest, and most permanent ways, and each one of us will be all the better for it.
Claudia Rankine, Citizen: An American Lyric. Published by Graywolf (2014). 160 pages.