writing

Sabrina Orah Mark on Claudia Rankine

We need more on the gifts of women poets. Sabrina Orah Mark penned an outstanding Tumblr post on Claudia Rankine last week. She also posts a link to more love for women poets. Of her latest experience with Claudia Rankine, Mark writes:

At one moment, before she read one of her anecdotes-gone-poem, she confessed to changing the “real” ending to make it a happier ending. “I believe,” she said “in repair.” Me too, Claudia. Me too. I worship her. She has plugged American poetry into its socket. The lights are back on. 

The lights are back on. And Claudia Rankine isn’t backing down from that socket. In a recent interview with Bim Adewunmi and Lynzy Billing for Buzzfeed, Rankine discusses how writing Citizen changed her:

And whereas before I felt like I didn’t want to be the person that makes you feel uncomfortable, now I don’t give a shit about your comfort. What about my comfort? [laughs] You need not to carry that around in you. Because by not calling it out, that means you receive it, and that person gets to move along like nothing happened. So they hold their space and comfort and you suddenly are the one that’s made uncomfortable. But the minute you give it back…

And there’s a lot of discomfort going on in the writing world(s) as of late. And I’m grateful for those who like Claudia Rankine are “giving it back” by Talking About What We Don’t Talk About.

As Metta Sáma asks, “If writers are living in fear of being ousted by literary gatekeepers, what are these writers doing to challenge and change the systems that allow for something called literary gatekeepers?” And as Cecilia Vicuña says, “Awareness is the most political act of all.” It starts with awareness. 

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