Poet Claudia Rankine to explore racism Oct. 12 at USC

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NAACP Image Award winner and Los Angeles Times Book Award winner Claudia Rankine will deliver the University of South Carolina’s annual Adrenée Glover Freeman Memorial Lecture Monday, Oct. 12.

The lecture will take place from 7 – 8 p.m. in the School of Law Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public. Her presentation will focus on the making of “Citizen,” a book that examines everyday encounters with racism within a larger cultural contexts haunted by the loss of black lives. Rankine also will read from her works as part of the university’s Fall Literary Festival Tuesday, Oct. 13.

“Rankine’s work is an important meditation on race and racism in America, and she explores the workings of racism through so many levels—from the micro to the macro, popular culture and history, the visual and the verbal, the social and the individual,” said Ed Madden, director of the university’s Women and Gender Studies Program. “I hope it will add to the ongoing public and private conversations about race and racism at this moment in our own culture.”

Rankine has five collections of poetry, including “Citizen: An American Lyric,” “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric,” “Plot,” “The End of the Alphabet” and “Nothing in Nature is Private.” “Citizen” was the winner of the PEN Open Book Award and National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry. It is the only book of poetry to be a New York Times bestseller in the nonfiction category. The book infuses various styles of work like poetry, essays, cultural criticisms and images.

Rankine has earned various awards from The American Academy of Arts and Letters, The Academy of American Poets and the National Endowments for the Arts. She teaches at Pomona College and is a co-editor of American Women Poets in the Twenty-First Century series with Wesleyan University Press and “The Racial Imagery” with Fence Books.

The university’s Freeman lecture was established in 1993 in memory of Adrenée Glover Freeman, a Columbia lawyer who was active in civic affairs and served on the Community Advisory Board of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program. The lecture is cosponsored this year by University Libraries, African American Studies and the Black Radical Thought in the Contemporary South Lecture Series.

For more information call 803-777-4007 or visit the Women’s and Gender Studies Program website.

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