Teacher Guide

Citizen: An American Lyric Lesson Plan

Introduction to Citizen: An American Lyric

Citizen: An American Lyric was published in 2014 by Graywolf Press. It is Claudia Rankine’s most popular and lauded work to date. Citizen won the 2014 National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry and the 2015 PEN Open Book Award; it was a finalist for the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism. The book is both criticism and poetry. It was the first book of poetry to make the New York Times Bestseller List for non-fiction. It has been described as protest poetry as well as political poetry.

In Citizen, Rankine speaks in the second person to meditate on everyday racisms in the United States. As Dan Chiasson says in The New Yorker, “Rankine has called...

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