Yin and Yang: On Race in Claudia Rankine’s Citizen and Kamau Brathwaite’s Strange Fruit

Written by Vladimir Lucien for Poetry International on Thursday, June 8th, 2017

Both books have been hurt or driven toward innovation or disruption of “form” or “formal” modes, but it is this difficulty of convincing, of making real one’s plight to one’s community that drives Brathwaite’s book toward mythic and magical action where Rankine’s persona/e moves toward small but important social/psychological action/s. For me, whether they arrive at this due to their own dilemmas or they began from there, the two books, though both about black people, emerge from two different though related conceptions of race.