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review 2018-04-09 18:31
Starting National Poetry Month with a bang
Citizen: An American Lyric - Claudia Rankine

I'm cognizant of the fact that I don't read enough books by women of color and that I read very few works of poetry. I decided to kill two birds with one stone by reading Claudia Rankine's Citizen: An American Lyric. (Also, it's National Poetry Month so it was a no-brainer.) This book is especially relevant right now with the state of our world being what it is: a shambles. Citizen is essentially Claudia's exploration of what it is to be a black woman living in America as told through poetic verse. It is beautiful, tender, terrible, tragic, and real. She doesn't shy away from such topics as police brutality or the prevalence of feeling like an outsider. This book is a personal revelation and a public admonishment all rolled into one neat package Coupled with her verses are historical quotes and pencil drawn (I think?) artwork. What better way to begin your foray into poetry than by reading a book that challenges the status quo and speaks from the heart? If you'd like to maybe see the world through a different set of eyes Citizen is your golden ticket with many stops along the way. 9/10

 

I made a note of this quote on page 89 to give you an idea of just how powerful her words are:

 

Those years of and before me and my brothers, the years of passage, plantation, migration, of Jim Crow segregation, of poverty, inner cities, profiling, of one in three, two jobs, boy, hey boy, each a felony, accumulate into the hours inside our lives where we are all caught hanging, the rope inside us, the tree inside us, its roots our limbs, a throat sliced through and where we open our mouth to speak, blossoms, o blossoms, no place coming out, brother, dear brother, that kind of blue.

 

What's Up Next: From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death by Caitlin Doughty

 

What I'm Currently Reading: The American Way of Death Revisited by Jessica Mitford

 

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2015-12-14 21:36
Citizen: An American Lyric By: Claudia Rankine
Citizen: An American Lyric - Claudia Rankine

I read this right after Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man and both are important reads in my opinion. Both are a bit difficult to read at times, but they both speak their truths in punch you in the gut prose, which I appreciated. A must read because we have so much more to do.

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quote 2015-12-12 18:26
Another friend tells you you have to learn not to absorb the world. She says sometimes she can hear her own voice saying silently to whomever---you are saying this thing and I am not going to accept it. Your friend refuses to carry what doesn't belong to her.

You take in things you don't want all the time. The second you hear or see some ordinary moment, all it's intended targets, all the meanings behind the retreating seconds, as far as you are able to see, come into focus. Hold up, did you just hear, did you just say, did you just see, did you just do that? Then the voice in your head silently tells you to take your foot off your throat because just getting along shouldn't be an ambition.
Citizen: An American Lyric - Claudia Rankine

-page 55 of Citizen by Claudia Rankine

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text 2015-07-02 07:14
June Roundup
Gilead - Marilynne Robinson
Citizen: An American Lyric - Claudia Rankine
The Secret Lives of Buildings: From the Ruins of the Parthenon to the Vegas Strip in Thirteen Stories - Edward Hollis
Land of Love and Drowning: A Novel - Tiphanie Yanique
A Modest Proposal and Other Satirical Works - Jonathan Swift
Hunger - Knut Hamsun,George Egerton
Honey in the Horn - Harold L. Davis Honey in the Horn - Harold L. Davis
Tiny Houses - Mimi Zeiger
Early Warning: A novel - Jane Smiley
Truesight - David Stahler Jr.

Total books: 10

Fiction: 7

Nonfiction: 2

Poetry/essays: 2

 

1001 list books: 2

Pulitzer winners: 2

 

Not bad, a good mix of things.

 

Favorite read of the month: Land of Love and Drowning

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text 2015-06-06 07:17
Citizen
Citizen: An American Lyric - Claudia Rankine

I have decided I need to read more poetry. Poetry is a huge, gaping hole for me. I know little. I struggle with it. Sometimes I find poetry that I love (Langston Hughes was a revelation).

 

Claudine Rankine's Citizen is my first book in my poetry resolution, so to speak. I have heard of this, and heard it was left off the Pulitzer poetry short list.

 

This is an excellent, and important, work. I personally was struck by the first section. The personal experiences related in a more prose-like form. But these stories are so relatable, because I have seen them. When I am at Smart and Final, I am not asked if I am paying with EBT. And then there is my neighborhood facebook group. I have come so close to leaving it, but instead commiserate with my Latina, white, and black friends who are also on the group (because we all live here, admittedly in the "less prestigious" aka "more diverse and not as crazy expensive" part of the neighborhood) about how offensive some of these people are. But that is several other infuriating stories. But the heartache and pain Rankine describes is real.

 

The later sections—in more typical poetry forms—were tougher for me. I do remember the incidents, but it took some reading. And it is worth noting that though this is subtitled "An American Lyric", both London and the World Cup put in an appearance. Because these issues are NOT American alone.

 

The amount of the Zidane section I read before finally figuring out the formatting is embarrassing. Me struggling with poetry.

 

I would love to know why the large sans serif font was chosen—is it meant to represent truth? Strength? Nakedness? Anything?

 

I regularly am told "I didn't see you!" by men, always older than me, who attempt to cut in front of me in line. I have always assumed it was because, as a woman, I am invisible or simply not important to them. Or they figure I have nothing better to be doing, while they do. Rankine believes this happening to her is due to her race. I assume gender. Perhaps it happens to men too? Are there really that many stupid/clueless/asshole-ish people out there?

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