Literature Questions based on excerpts from Claudia Rankines Citizen

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  1. How does the form (longer lines, more prose like than poetry at times) affect the overall feel of these poems? Does the structure have any impact on theme?
  2. What do these poems have to say about race? Identity?
  3. In "A woman you do not know wants to join you for lunch," Rankine writes: "A friend argues that Americans battle between the “historical self” and the “self self.”" What does she mean by this?
  4. Rankine calls Citizen an "American Lyric." How do these poems define or reflect contemporary America?

Questions based on following excerpts from the book:

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/57799/citiz...

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/po...

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/po...

https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/citizen-vi-tra...

Tutor Answer

LesserGenius
School: Carnegie Mellon University

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Excerpts from Claudia Rankine’s Citizen
How the Form affects the Overall Feel of the poem
The form the poem takes creates a flawlessness in the story that the writer communicates.
The form affects the theme by creating clarity and suspense to the poem. It is also engaging due
to the long lines the writer uses. The writer creates more of a story than a dramatic gesture using
the poem. The structure has an impact on the theme. Unlike traditional poetry stanzas, the
structure takes the form of a story with fewer metaphors and more direct quotes. The argument,
therefore, becomes more straightforward than it would be in the case of a standard poetic ...

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