In conversation with Cathy Park Hong
A recording of the event will be available through October 20.
As white supremacy becomes increasingly vocalized, with no clear answers at hand, how best might we approach one another? Bestselling poet and MacArthur “Genius” Grant recipient Claudia Rankine urges us to begin the discussions that might open pathways through this divisive and stuck moment in American history. Just Us: An American Conversation is an invitation to discover what it takes to stay in the room together, to breach the silence, guilt, and violence that follow direct addresses of whiteness. Rankine’s questions disrupt the false comfort of our culture’s liminal and private spaces—the airport, the theater, the dinner party, the voting booth—where neutrality and politeness can conceal conflicting commitments, beliefs, and biases instead of allowing genuine, productive dialogue.
This brilliant arrangement of essays, poems, and images includes the voices and rebuttals of others along with fact-checked notes and commentary that complement Rankine’s own text, complicating notions of authority and who gets the last word. Sometimes wry, often vulnerable, and always prescient, Just Us is Rankine’s most intimate work, in which she inspires us to forge humane pathways through this moment of division.
Claudia Rankine is the author of Citizen: An American Lyric, for which she won the PEN Literary Award, the NAACP Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award, and was a finalist for the National Book Award. In addition to four previous books and several edited anthologies, her writing has appeared in major news outlets. She is a professor of poetry at Yale University.
“In Just Us, Claudia Rankine continues her remarkable and brilliant interrogation of the language, culture, and history that have shaped America. . . . [It] is utterly original and desperately needed.”
— Dinaw Mengestu, author
Virtual ticket + a copy of Just Us with a signed bookplate will be shipped to your home address: $42
Virtual ticket: $10