Monday, July 27, 2015

Poet Claudia Rankine To Lead Q&A, Following ‘Citizen: An American Lyric’ Matinee Sun., Aug. 2

Internationally acclaimed poet Claudia Rankine will lead a talkback with the audience and sign copies of her multiple award-winning book Citizen: An American Lyric following a performance of theFountain Theatre’s world premiere stage adaptation of the same name. Rankine will attend the performance on Sunday, Aug. 2 at 3 p.m., and the audience talkback and book signing reception will immediately follow.

Citizen: An American Lyric is a provocative meditation on everyday racism in America. Named one of the best books of the year by the Los Angeles Times, NPR, New York Magazine, the New YorkerBoston GlobePublishers WeeklySlate and Time Out New York among others, it is the recipient of the National Book Critics Circle Award, Los Angeles Times Book Prize, NAACP Image Award and PEN Open Book Award, and was a finalist for both the National Book Award and the UK’s Forward Prize for Poetry.

The Fountain Theatre production is a spoken word dramatic collage made up of remarks, glances, seeming slips of the tongue — those did-that-really-just-happen-did-they-really-just say-that slurs that happen every day — as well as the larger incidents that become national firestorm. Fusing poetry, prose, movement, music and the video image, it was adapted for the stage by Stephen Sachs and is directed by Shirley Jo Finney. The six-member ensemble includes Bernard K. AddisonLeith BurkeTina LiffordTony MaggioSimone Missick and Lisa Pescia.

Originally from Jamaica, Claudia Rankine earned her BA in English from Williams College and her MFA in poetry from Columbia University. She is the author of five collections of poetry: Citizen: An American Lyric (Graywolf Press, 2014), which received the 2014 National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry; Don’t Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric (Graywolf Press, 2004);PLOT (Grove Press, 2001); The End of the Alphabet (Grove Press, 1998); and Nothing in Nature is Private (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 1995), which received the Cleveland State Poetry Prize. Her honors include fellowships from the Lannan Foundation and the National Endowments for the Arts. In 2005, she was awarded the Academy Fellowship for distinguished poetic achievement by the Academy of American Poets, and in 2013, she was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. Rankine is currently the Henry G. Lee Professor of English at Pomona College.

Performances of Citizen: An American Lyric will take place Aug. 1 through Sept. 14. Claudia Rankine will attend the performance on Sunday, Aug. 2 at 3 p.m., and a Q & A with the audience and book signing reception will immediately follow. For more information and to purchase tickets, call (323) 663-1525 or go to

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