Citizen: An American Lyric

Citizen: An American Lyric Situations - Video Series

A few poems from Section IV are denoted as scripts for videos. Like Rankine's own text, the videos are an effort to combine poetry with visual media; this time, however, we get to hear her own monotonous reading voice through the voiceover. The videos are a collaborative effort between Rankine and her husband, John Lucas, a photographer and filmmaker.

While some of the videos are simple temporal depictions of the content provided by the poems, others introduce avant-garde filming techniques such as unorthodox blurring, dissolving of frames, and overlays. Some employ a technique for maintaining viewer interest during longer videopoems: interweaving separate stories in the footage and voiceover to create a kind of dialectical tension. What doesn’t happen, or might happen, becomes as important as what does happen.

You can see the videos for yourself on Claudia Rankine's website (flash required):