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The Atlantic

CLAUDIA RANKINE’S QUEST FOR RACIAL DIALOGUE. When Claudia Rankine’s Citizen: An American Lyric arrived in the fall of 2014, shortly before a St. Louis County grand jury decided not to charge Darren Wilson for Michael Brown’s murder, critics hailed it as a work very much of its moment. The book-length poem—the only such work to be a best seller on the New York Times nonfiction list—was in tune with the Black Lives Matter movement, which was then gathering momentum. How, Rankine asked, can Black citizens claim the expressive “I” of lyric poetry when a systemically racist state looks upon a Black person and sees, at best, a walking symbol of its greatest fears and, at worst, nothing at all? 

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