Renowned poet Claudia Rankine will present Transylvania University’s 2017 Kenan Lecture on Thursday, Feb. 16, at 7:30 p.m. in Carrick Theater. The event is free and open to the public, and tickets can be reserved here.
Her five poetry collections include “Citizen: An American Lyric,” which is the only poetry book to make the non-fiction category of the New York Times bestseller list. At Transylvania she will discuss making the book and the question of creative imagination and race.
Rankine—who also is a playwright, essayist and editor of several anthologies—is the Aerol Arnold Chair at the University of Southern California, the Frederick Iseman Professor of Poetry at Yale University and a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.
“Citizen” has won numerous honors, including the prestigious National Book Critics Circle Award in 2014. It also was a finalist for the National Book Award in Poetry.
“This collection of lyrical essays or poetic prose bears witness to the experience of everyday encounters with racism,” Transylvania professor Jeremy Paden said. “It moves in and through the feelings and thought processes of the person trying to understand the experience of these injustices. ‘Citizen’ names and narrates these experiences. And in reading and listening to the poems, in learning from them, our world is enlarged.”
Transylvania’s William R. Kenan Jr. Lecture Series is funded by a grant from the William R. Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust.
Previous speakers have included: Robert F. Kennedy Jr., an environmental lawyer and activist; Michele Norris, a National Public Radio correspondent and best-selling author; CNN analyst Peter Bergen; Mary Robinson, Ireland’s first female president; and actress Mary McDonnell.
A question and answer session and reception will follow the Feb. 16 lecture.
Parking for Haggin Auditorium, which is in the Mitchell Fine Arts Center, is available in an adjacent lot off West Fourth Street near Upper Street.