Claudia Rankine, 2016 MacArthur Fellow and Frederick Iseman Professor of Poetry at Yale University, will present a public lecture at Millsaps College on Friday, February 10, at 1 p.m. in the Recital Hall of the Gertrude C. Ford Academic Complex. Her lecture is part of the Friday Forum series and is the culmination of a two-day conference entitled ‘”This is how you are a citizen,’: Humanities and Civic Life in Mississippi.”
The public is also invited to attend any sessions of the conference. Download a preliminary schedule of conference activities here.
Rankine will read from her acclaimed work Citizen: An American Lyric, which was the 2016 summer reading assignment for first-year Millsaps students. She will also reflect on the implications of her work, and the humanities, in general, for civic life.
The conference begins Thursday, February 9, and will conclude with Rankine’s Friday afternoon lecture. The conference will be held at Millsaps with most sessions taking place in the Academic Complex. Millsaps is partnering with Tougaloo College, the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation, Hope Enterprise Corporation, Jackson 2000, the Margaret Walker Center, Jackson State University, the Eudora Welty Foundation, Parents for Public Schools of Jackson, and the Jackson Association of Black Journalists.
Persons with a special interest in Eudora Welty will be interested in the conference session entitled “‘Must the Novelist Crusade?’: Art as a Form of Activism,” sponsored by the Eudora Welty Foundation and the Margaret Walker Center. It will be held in Room 218 of the Academic Complex on Thursday from 11 a.m.-12 p.m. and on Friday from 9-10 a.m.
In addition to Citizen, Rankine is the author of five collections of poetry, including Don’t Let Me Be Lonely; two plays, including Provenance of Beauty: A South Bronx Travelogue; numerous video collaborations, and is the editor of several anthologies, including The Racial Imaginary: Writers on Race in the Life of the Mind. For Citizen, Rankine won the Forward Prize for Poetry, the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry (Citizen was also nominated in the criticism category, making it the first book in the award’s history to be a double nominee), the Los Angeles Times Book Award, the PEN Open Book Award, and the NAACP Image Award.
A finalist for the National Book Award, Citizen also holds the distinction of being the only poetry book to be a New York Times bestseller in the nonfiction category. Among her numerous awards and honors, Rankine is the recipient of the Poets & Writers Jackson Poetry Prize and fellowships from the Lannan Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.
This project was made possible by a grant from the Mississippi Humanities Council, through support from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or the Mississippi Humanities Council.
This project is also supported in part by funding from the Mississippi Arts Commission, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.