Poetry in the Post-Truth Era: Formal Structures in Claudia Rankine's Citizen: An American Lyric

  • Olivia Djawoto Nanyang Technological University


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”.

How to Cite
Djawoto, Olivia. 2017. “Poetry in the Post-Truth Era: Formal Structures in Claudia Rankine’s Citizen: An American Lyric”. FORUM: University of Edinburgh Postgraduate Journal of Culture & The Arts, no. 25 (December). https://forumjournal.org/article/view/2554.