Poetry in the Post-Truth Era: Formal Structures in Claudia Rankine's Citizen: An American Lyric
In the unbridled relativism of this post-truth era, poetry seems more out of place than ever before. In particular, works with an impulse towards fiction are perceived as incapable of participating in the non-fictional world at large. Yet, writers like Claudia Rankine still return to the poetic form to confront the issue of race in an America that sees itself as post-racial. Rather than contest such existing claims of “truth” with one of her own, Rankine, in Citizen: An American Lyric, chooses instead to examine what it means to be a “citizen” as an African-American. Through a self-reflexive mode of inquiry, she provokes readers to consider the state of race-relations within America. This article thus argues that poetry can have a stake in our reality not merely in spite of, but precisely because of the dissonance arising out of so many competing “truths”.
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