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Poetry Book Club

The Ruby's Poetry Book Club focuses on poetry, experimental genres, and hybrid forms that make their way into the world through independent, mostly small presses operating outside mainstream publishing. With a bias for writers of color, we will read and discuss an eclectic body of work by female authors. This group will make space for writers who are looking to expand their own practice, and non-writers: anyone with the desire to explore and support books that are unpredictable, subversive, idiosyncratic, and often overlooked.

Our first meeting will take place on the Thursday following the two-part Introduction to Loving Poetry workshop with Jennifer S. Cheng on February 21 and 28. We welcome you to sign up for both! 

Our inaugural book will be the poetry-prose hybrid, CITIZEN: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine, the first book to be nominated in both poetry and criticism for the National Book Critics Circle Award. We'll have a copy available for checkout from The Ruby library, and we encourage you to purchase the book from a local bookstore: Alley Cat and Dog-Eared are two neighborhood favorites.


Claudia Rankine's bold new book recounts mounting racial aggressions in ongoing encounters in twenty-first-century daily life and in the media. Some of these encounters are slights, seeming slips of the tongue, and some are intentional offensives in the classroom, at the supermarket, at home, on the tennis court with Serena Williams and the soccer field with Zinedine Zidane, online, on TV-everywhere, all the time. The accumulative stresses come to bear on a person's ability to speak, perform, and stay alive. Our addressability is tied to the state of our belonging, Rankine argues, as are our assumptions and expectations of citizenship. In essay, image, and poetry, Citizen is a powerful testament to the individual and collective effects of racism in our contemporary, often named "post-race" society.