• Thea Goodman

JUST US by Claudia Rankine

Updated: Sep 29, 2020

This book, one of a trilogy, an amalgam of poetry, essay, excerpt and found image transformed my way of seeing race in the US. I felt myself seeing through the eyes of a black woman rather than the white one I am. With that lens I saw the collective shame that permeates our nation, shame at what we have done, what we hide from and who we are. The book interrogates Rankine’s conversations with several white friends, white male strangers, and her relationship with her white male spouse. Racism, when faced head on, without protestations of fairness and progress made, forces us to grieve and rage as Rankine does, The clear lens of truth is both clarifying and crazy-making. Rankine seems to ask , how do we live with this legacy? Slavery and what has followed is so absurdly cruel that to see it straight we, too, go a bit crazy. That is Rankine’s life’s path, to see and expose racism in her art. When we read her, we join her, and it is devastating.


2 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

WRITERS AND LOVERS by Lily King.

What’s at stake in this novel is the simple happiness of our struggling writer protagonist. Love and work are what she seeks and there’s no “hook” more complicated than human fulfillment in this beaut

THIS IS NOW THAT WAS THEN by Vijay Seshadri

Seshadri’s fifth book of poems is wildly idiosyncratic, funny, varied in style. I found his preoccupations similar to Rankine’s in some ways: How do we live in tandem with the violence of the world? H

DON'T LET ME BE LONELY TONIGHT by Claudia Rankine

This book—image, poem, essay— is part of a trilogy including Just Us and Citizen, is less about race and more about mental anguish. What behaviors are called crazy? Which ones merit institutionalized?

© 2020 by Thea Goodman, Writer. Powered by Wixspace.com

THEA GOODMAN, WRITER