Claudia Rankine

Award-winning Poet

Claudia Rankine has made of her savage and stern intelligence, her ruthlessness and her terror, great art.” —Louise Glück

“One can only say thank you to such a poet.” —Jorie Graham

Whether writing about intimacy or alienation, Claudia Rankine’s voice is one of unflinching and unrelenting candor, and her poetry is some of the most innovative and thoughtful to emerge in recent years. Born in Kingston, Jamaica, and educated at Williams College and Columbia University, Rankine is the author of four collections of poetry, including the award-winning Nothing in Nature is Private. In The End of the Alphabet and Plot, she welds the cerebral and the spiritual, the sensual and the grotesque. Her latest book, Don't Let Me Be Lonely—a multi-genre project that blends poetry, essays, and image—is an experimental and deeply personal exploration of the condition of fragmented selfhood in contemporary America. Of this book, poet Robert Creeley said: "Claudia Rankine here manages an extraordinary melding of means to effect the most articulate and moving testament to the bleak times we live in I’ve yet seen. It’s master work in every sense, and altogether her own."

Don't Let Me Be Lonely review on Boston Review

Rankine is also the author of a play, Provenance of Beauty: A South Bronx Travelogue, which is performed on a bus ride through the Bronx. The New York Times calls it an "engrossing urban adventure, which does not conform to the standard formula for theater but does make the bustle outside the bus throb with history, mystery and meaning, as the best live performances do." She is also the founder of the OPEN LETTERPROJECT: Race and the Creative Imagination, and co-produces a video series, "The Situation," alongside John Lucas.

Rankine co-edited the anthology American Women Poets in the 21st Century: Where Lyric Meets Language, and her work is included in several anthologies, including Great American Prose Poems: From Poe to the Present, Best American Poetry 2001, Giant Step: African American Writing at the Crossroads of the Century, and The Garden Thrives: Twentieth Century African-American Poetry. Her work has been published in numerous journals including Boston Review, TriQuarterly, and The Poetry Project Newsletter. She lives and teaches in California.

About DON'T LET ME BE LONELY (2008)
In this powerful sequence of TV images and essay, Award-winning poet Claudia Rankine explores the personal and political unrest of our volatile new century. Rankine, well known for her experimental multi-genre writing, fuses the lyric, the essay, and the visual in this politically and morally fierce examination of solitude in the rapacious and media-driven assault on selfhood that is contemporary America. With wit and intelligence, Rankine strives toward clarity—of thought and imagination—while always arguing that recognition of others is the only salvation for ourselves, our art, and our government. Don’t Let Me Be Lonely is an important new confrontation with our culture, with a voice at its heart bewildered by its inadequacy in the face of race riots, terrorist attacks, medicated depression, and the antagonism of the television that won’t leave us alone.

Claudia Rankine website