Claudia Rankine


Claudia Rankine is the author of six collections of poetry, including Just Us: An American Conversation, Citizen: An American Lyric and Don’t Let Me Be Lonely; three plays including HELP, which premiered in March of 2020 at The Shed, NYC, The White Card, which premiered in February 2018 (ArtsEmerson/ American Repertory Theater) and was published by Graywolf Press in 2019, and Provenance of Beauty: A South Bronx Travelogue; as well as numerous video collaborations. She is also the co-editor of several anthologies including The Racial Imaginary: Writers on Race in the Life of the Mind (FENCE, 2015). In 2016, she co-founded The Racial Imaginary Institute (TRII). Among her numerous awards and honors, Rankine is the recipient of the Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry, the Poets & Writers’ Jackson Poetry Prize, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Lannan Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, United States Artists, and the National Endowment of the Arts. Rankine teaches at Yale University as the Frederick Iseman Professor of Poetry. She lives in New Haven, Connecticut. Source


On a scrap of paper in the archive is written

I have forgotten my umbrella. Turns out

in a pandemic everyone, not just the philosopher,

is without. We scramble in the drought of information

held back by inside traders. Drop by drop. Face

covering? No, yes. Social distancing? Six feet

under for underlying conditions. Black.

Just us and the blues kneeling on a neck

with the full weight of a man in blue.

Eight minutes and forty-six seconds.

In extremis, I can’t breathe gives way

to asphyxiation, to giving up this world,

and then mama, called to, a call

to protest, fire, glass, say their names, say

their names, white silence equals violence,

the violence of again, a militarized police

force teargassing, bullets ricochet, and civil

unrest taking it, burning it down. Whatever

contracts keep us social compel us now

to disorder the disorder. Peace. We’re out

to repair the future. There’s an umbrella

by the door, not for yesterday but for the weather

that’s here. I say weather but I mean

a form of governing that deals out death

and names it living. I say weather but I mean

a November that won’t be held off. This time

nothing, no one forgotten. We are here for the storm

that’s storming because what’s taken matters.





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:



Health & Illness

Police Brutality

Literary Devices:


the replacement of one part of speech for another, often referred to as a “functional shift.”


the absence of a conjunction (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so…) between phrases and within a sentence

Extended Metaphor

a metaphor that extends through several lines or even an entire poem