Claudia Rankine & Matthew Rohrer
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Claudia Rankine & Matthew Rohrer

Past Event: Tuesday, March 13, 2001

Claudia Rankine’s poetry is a kind of high-wire act in which the acrobat must invent the wire with each succeeding step. Alert to paradox, in both her characters and language, she creates a world of beauty and violence through breaking down the poetic form and then building it back up again. Mary Gordon writes about Rankine’s new book,“I am awestruck. Quite simply, I have never read anything like Plot. Its stupendous intelligence . . . marks it as a masterpiece.”

Rankine was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and educated at Williams College and Columbia University. She won the 1993 Kenyon Review Award for Literacy Excellence in an Emerging Writer. She teaches at Barnard College and lives in New York.

In Matthew Rohrer’s poetic landscape, the weather, food, and even household appliances come to life; it is a surrealist world in which toasters cry and sugar is afraid to be eaten. Mary Oliver writes, “Matthew Rohrer’s poems are beautiful and disquieting. What he tells us about his world, in language that is both lush and exact, is likely to be a haunting experience. It was for me.”

Matthew Rohrer grew up in Oklahoma and attended the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, University College, Dublin, and the University of Michigan, where he won an Avery Hopwood Award. His first book, A Hummock in the Malookas, was selected by Mary Oliver for the 1994 National Poetry Series, and his second book Satellite, was published in May 2001. He lives in Brooklyn and is a poetry editor for Fence Magazine.

Selected WorkClaudia RankineNothing in Nature is Private (1995)The End of the Alphabet (1998)Plot (2001)

Matthew RohrerA Hummock in the Malookas (1994)Satellite (2001)

LinksAcademy of American Poets web page of RankineEnd of the Alphabet book reviewAcademy of American Poets web page of RohrerFeatured author in Ploughshares