Claudia Rankine was born on September 15, 1963. She is an American poet, essayist, playwright, and the editor of several anthologies. She is the author of five volumes of poetry, two plays, and various essays. Rankine was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and educated at Williams College and Columbia University.
She taught at Pomona College from 2006 to 2015. Her work has appeared in many journals, including Harper's, GRANTA, the Kenyon Review, and the Lana Turner Journal. She co-edits (with Lisa Sewell) the anthology series American Women Poets in the 21st Century Where Lyric Meets Language. Of her work, poet Mark Doty wrote, "Claudia Rankine's formally inventive poems investigate many kinds of boundaries the unsettled territory between poetry and prose, between the word and the visual image, between what it's like to be a subject and the ways we're defined from outside by skin color, economics, and global corporate culture.
This fearless poet extends American poetry in invigorating new directions. She additionally founded and curates the Racial Imaginary Institute, which Rankine called "a moving collaboration with other collectives, spaces, artists, and organizations towards art exhibitions, readings, dialogues, lectures, performances, and screenings that engage the subject of race.
In 2017, Rankine collaborated with choreographer and performer Will Rawls to generate the work What Remains. Collaborators included Tara Aisha Willis, Jessica Pretty, Leslie Quyet, and Jeremy Toussaint-Baptiste. The work premiered at Bard College, and has been performed at national venues, including Dans pace in New York, the Walker Art Center, Yale Repertory Theatre, and Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art Warehouse Space. In an interview with Rawls, Rankine described how text and language were manipulated in the performance: "As a writer, you spend a lot of time trying to get all of these words to communicate a feeling or to communicate an action, and to be able to get rid of the words but still hold the feeling was stunning to me.