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Author and poet Claudia Rankine to speak at MLK Convocation

| By Stephanie Weaver
Claudia Rankine

Claudia Rankine, Jamaican-born award-winning author and poet, will speak at Loyola University Maryland’s annual Martin Luther King, Jr., Convocation on Monday, Jan. 18, 2016, at 5 p.m. in McGuire Hall.

The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Registration will open Dec. 1, 2015 at

In her talk, Rankine will contribute new insight to the Loyola community’s ongoing conversation on race on campus, in Baltimore, and in American society. Rankine has become known for her “American lyrics”: powerful, inventive meditations on everyday racial experience in American life, infused by long legacies of violence up through and beyond Ferguson, Mo.

Rankine’s fifth book, Citizen: An American Lyric, was published late last year. Citizen received the 2015 Forward Prize for Best Collection, the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry (it was also a finalist in the criticism category, making it the first book in the award’s history to be a double nominee), the NAACP Image Award, the PEN Open Book Award, and the LA Times Book Award for Poetry. It was also nominated for the Hurston/Wright 2015 Legacy Award and was selected as an NPR Best Book of 2014. A finalist for the National Book Award, Citizen also holds the distinction of being the only poetry book to be a New York Times bestseller in the nonfiction category.

Rankine is the recipient of the Poets & Writers’ Jackson Poetry Prize and fellowships from the Lannan Foundation and the National Endowment of the Arts. Among her work are Don’t Let Me Be Lonely (2008), in which she combines poetry with essay and visual images to examine personal and political unrest in contemporary American culture; two plays, including Provenance of Beauty: A South Bronx Travelogue; and numerous video collaborations. She is the editor of several anthologies, including The Racial Imaginary: Writers on Race in the Life of the Mind. 

Rankine lives in California, where she is the Aerol Arnold Chair of the English department at the University of Southern California.

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