St. Paul, Minn. – This year’s First Thursday speaker is Claudia Rankine, recipient of the 2016 MacArthur Fellowship, Yale professor and poet. Her talk is titled, “1968 and 2018: The Shape of Resistance 50 Years Later.”

First Thursday is 11:30 a.m., September 6, 2018, in the Leonard Center’s Alumni Gymnasium. President Brian Rosenberg, Provost Karine Moe and Macalester College Student Government President Malik Mays ’19 will also speak.  All students, faculty and staff are invited to gather as a community on the first Thursday of the Fall Semester to celebrate the beginning of the academic year.

Claudia Rankine is the author of five collections of poetry, including Citizen: An American Lyric and Don’t Let Me Be Lonely; two plays including The White Card, which premiered in February 2018 (ArtsEmerson/American Repertory Theater) and will be published with Graywolf Press in 2019, and Provenance of Beauty: A South Bronx Travelogue; as well as numerous video collaborations. She is also the editor of several anthologies including The Racial Imaginary: Writers on Race in the Life of the Mind.

In all of her work, whether writing about intimacy or alienation, Rankine’s voice is one of unrelenting candor, and her poetry is some of the most innovative and thoughtful work to emerge in recent years. Her work often crosses genres as it tracks wild and precise movements of mind.

In the words of the Judges Citation for the Jackson Prize: “The moral vision of Claudia Rankine’s poetry is astounding. In a body of work that pushes the boundaries of the contemporary lyric, Rankine has managed to make space for meditation and vigorous debate upon some of the most relevant and troubling social themes of the 20th and 21st centuries…These poems do the work of art of the highest order—teaching, chastening, changing, astounding, and humanizing the reader.”

In 2016, she co-founded The Racial Imaginary Institute (TRII).

Among her numerous awards and honors, Rankine is the recipient of the Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry, the Poets & Writers’ Jackson Poetry Prize, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Lannan Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, United States Artists, and the National Endowment of the Arts.

She is a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and teaches at Yale University as the Frederick Iseman Professor of Poetry.

After the talk, everyone is invited to a zero-waste picnic on Shaw Field (or the field house in case of rain).

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August 23 2018

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