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October 23, 2009
Vol. 51 No. 6

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Visiting author reads, speaks to students

Poet Claudia Rankine read from her work on Thursday, Oct. 22 in Isaac's Auditorium as part of the 2009-10 Visiting Writers Series, sponsored by The Writers Institute.

Rankine's reading was preceded by a question and answer session in Seibert Faculty Lounge, during which students had the opportunity to learn about Rankine's writing process.

Rankine is the author of four collections of poetry: "Don't Let Me Be Lonely," published in 2004, "PLOT," published in 2001, "The End of the Alphabet," published in 1998 and "Nothing in Nature Is Private," published in 1995. The latter piece received the Cleveland State Poetry Prize.

Rankine also received the 2004 Academy of American Poets fellowship and co-edited the 2002 book "American Women Poets in the 21st Century: Where Lyric Meets Language."
Assistant Professor of Creative Writing Karla Kelsey spoke highly of Rankine's work.

"I have taught two of Claudia Rankine's books, 'Plot' and 'Don't Let Me Be Lonely,' to several sections of different courses here at SU, and I am always so happy with the discussion that her work provokes," Kelsey said.

"Her innovative use of poetic form and her fierce engagement with contemporary culture, create an engaging experience for a broad audience. I hope that people from all corners of campus came to hear this remarkable and important poet read her work," she added.
Rankine's latest book, "Don't Let Me Be Lonely," is an experimental multi-genre project blending poetry, essays and image.

According to poet Robert Creeley, "Claudia Rankine here manages an extraordinary melding of means to effect the most articulate and moving testament to the bleak times we live in I've yet seen. It's master work in every sense and altogether her own."

A native of Jamaica, Rankine earned her bachelor's degree from Williams College and her master of fine arts degree in poetry from Columbia University.

Her poetry is featured in several anthologies, including "Great American Prose Poems: From Poe to the Present," "Best American Poetry 2001," "Giant Step: African American Writing at the Crossroads of the Century" and "The Garden Thrives: Twentieth Century African-American Poetry."

Rankine has taught at Barnard College, the Iowa Writer's Workshop and the University of Houston. She currently lives in California, where she is a professor of English at Pomona College.

Rankine is the second of six writers scheduled to read at Susquehanna during the 2009-10 Visiting Writers Series. The next reading will be given by Fleda Brown, author of "Breathing In, Breathing Out" and "Reunion," on Monday, Nov. 9 at 7:30 p.m. in Isaacs Auditorium.

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