Citizen: An American Lyric
When Jack Nicklaus set a course record while winning the 1965 Masters, golfing great, tournament co-founder, and Augusta National course designer Bobby Jones marveled, “He plays a game with which I am not familiar“.
That’s how I felt reading Claudia Rankine’s Citizen: An American Lyric. She writes a genre—almost a language—with which I am not familiar.
Citizen is a prose-poem filled less with words (the book itself is a work of art, with exquisite and haunting use of blank space) than with photographs, art reproductions and video scripts.
And yet Rankine’s words are what makes Citizen so utterly memorabl—words like a fine, well-aged single malt whiskey: just a sip fills your senses as you savor the taste, the smell, the feel, slowly entering your body and mind, enlivening, disturbing, stimulating, loosening and intoxicating.
A word, a line, an image of Rankine’s can stay with you for hours…even weeks.