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February 21, 2005

Poet Claudia Rankine to Read at Smith

NORTHAMPTON, Mass.— Smith College’s Poetry Center will present a reading by Claudia Rankine at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 8, in Stoddard Auditorium. Rankine’s reading is free, open to the public and wheelchair accessible.

Born in Kingston, Jamaica, and educated at Williams College and Columbia University, Rankine is the author of four collections of poetry, including the award-winning “Nothing in Nature is Private.” In the volumes that follow, “The End of the Alphabet” and “Plot,” she courts paradox and confronts discontinuity, welding the cerebral and the spiritual, the sensual and the grotesque. Rankine’s latest work, “Don't Let Me Be Lonely”—which bears the subtitle “An American Lyric,” but which the author refers to as prose fiction—is an experimental and deeply personal exploration of the condition of fragmented selfhood in contemporary America. Poet Jorie Graham celebrates the book’s “raw political courage and aesthetic bravery.”

Whether writing about intimacy or alienation, Rankine’s voice is one of unflinching and unrelenting candor. Her work stretches the conventions of genre as it challenges those of society. Poet Michael Palmer praises her ability to “mobilize the narrative power of prose and the transrational logic of poetry to create a work of singular courage, lucidity and imaginative force.” Intensely personal and deeply felt, her poems wrestle with the challenge of creating wholeness in a fragmented world.

Rankine’s work has appeared in The Boston Review, jubilat, The Kenyon Review and numerous other journals. She also co-edited the anthology American Women Poets in the 21st Century: Where Lyric Meets Language. She has taught at Barnard College and the University of Georgia and currently teaches in the writing program at the University of Houston.

Following her reading, Rankine will be available to sign copies of her books, which will be on sale. For further information, call Cindy Furtek in the Poetry Center office at (413) 585-4891 or Ellen Doré Watson, director, at (413) 585-3368.

Office of College Relations
Smith College
Garrison Hall
Northampton, Massachusetts 01063

Marti Hobbes
News Assistant
T (413) 585-2190
F (413) 585-2174

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