Literary Birthday – 1 January – Claudia Rankine

Happy Birthday, Claudia Rankine, born 1 January 1963.


  1. I want to believe that in any relational moment a person understands that the other person in front of them is just another human being.
  2. The past is a life sentence, a blunt instrument aimed at tomorrow.
  3. Poetry has no investment in anything besides openness. It’s not arguing a point. It’s creating an environment.
  4. I don’t think people want to look at problems. They want a continuous narrative, an optimistic narrative. A narrative that says there’s a present and a future – and what was in the past no longer exists.
  5. As a writer, I don’t want people spending time thinking, ‘What does she mean?’ I want, in a way, my text to go away. So that the words on the page become a door to one’s own internal investigation. It’s just a passage. If the work does its job, it just opens.
  6. Intimacy is important in my work because I don’t understand existence without intimacy. All of us are dependent on other people – and in ways we don’t know.

Claudia Rankine is a Jamaican-born American poet, essayist, playwright, and the editor of several anthologies. She is the author of five volumes of poetry, two plays, and various essays. In 2013 Rankine was elected a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. She received  the PEN Open Book Award and the NAACP Image Award for poetry in 2015 for Citizen: An American Lyric.

Source for image: Wikipedia Commons

by Amanda Patterson

Are you interested in more authors’ birthdays? Please click here: Literary Birthday Calendar

Posted on: 1st January 2019