Claudia Rankine at Babson
(Left to right: LaShonda Cooks, Mary Pinard, Claudia Rankine, Mary O’Donoghue, me, Elizabeth Goldberg, and Daina Williams.)
On Wednesday evening, I had the great privilege of hearing Claudia Rankine read her thought-provoking poetry at Babson College.
She presented a short film she collaborated on with her husband, filmmaker John Lucas. Provenance is a five-minute film that melds poetry, video, and photography, examining the biggest catastrophes in modern history, from 9/11 to Katrina. I admire how she uses her work to elevate the level of social and political discourse through art—not only through the work, but by using film as the vehicle for that discussion.
Rankine seems comfortable in many genres, from poetry to playwriting. For me, her work starts out as meditations on a theme, then expands to touch on larger, often political topics. I wish I had more time to speak with her about her creative process. I’m sure she touched on it the next day as she gave an informal talk to Babson students (I was unable to attend).
It was a great pleasure to spend even a few minutes with her. It’s also nice to speak to another poet mom, one so accomplished and not afraid to say what needs to be said.