Citizen An American Lyric PDF - Overview
Citizen An American Lyric is a 2014 book-length poem and a series of lyric essays by American poet Claudia Rankine. Citizen stretches the conventions of traditional lyric poetry by interweaving several forms of text and media into a collective portrait of racial relations in the United States.
The Citizen An American Lyric ranked as a New York Times Bestseller in 2015 and won several awards, including the 2014 National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry, the 2015 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work in Poetry, and the 2015 Forward Prize for Poetry Best Collection.
In her critique of racism and visibility, Rankine details the quotidian microaggressions African-Americans face, discusses controversial incidents such as backlashes against tennis player Serena Williams, and inquires about the ramifications of the shootings of Trayvon Martin and James Craig Anderson.
She intersperses her writing with images of various paintings, drawings, sculptures, and other digital media to “render visible the black experience”.
Citizen An American Lyric
Summary of Citizen An American Lyric
The Citizen An American Lyric consists of seven chapters interspersed with images and artworks. The first chapter details microaggressions Rankine and her friends have experienced. The second chapter discusses the YouTube character Hennessy Youngman (created by Jayson Musson) and racial incidents in the life of Serena Williams.
The third chapter features more microaggressions and the nature of racist language. In the fourth chapter Rankine writes of the transition of sighs into aches, the nature of language, memory, and watching tennis matches in silence. Chapter five is a complex poem on self-identity interspersed with more microaggressions.
Chapter six is a series of scripts for “situation videos” created in collaboration with John Lucas on Hurricane Katrina, the shootings of Trayvon Martin and James Craig Anderson, the Jena Six, the 2011 England riots in the wake of the death of Mark Duggan, stop-and-frisk, Zinedine Zidane’s headbutt of Marco Materazzi in the 2006 FIFA World Cup Final, and the verbal error during Barack Obama’s first inauguration as President of the United States.
The sixth chapter ends with “Making Room”, a script for a “public fiction” about finding a seat on the subway, and a list of African-American men involved in recent police shooting incidents that concludes with the phrase “because white men can’t police their imagination black men are dying”. The seventh chapter is a complex meditation on race, the body, language and various incidents in the life of the author. The book is interspersed with images of various paintings, drawings, sculptures and screen grabs.