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Literary fiction, classics, dystopian, history, memoir, prize winners, and of course the 1001 books. You really might catch me reading anything!

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Empire of Cotton: A Global History
Sven Beckert
Progress: 220/656 pages

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?