The Rutgers–Camden Center for the Arts (RCCA) will participate in The Big Read for the eighth time with Citizen: An American Lyric, written by Claudia Rankine.  

The two-month celebration features a lecture series, art installation sites, storytelling programs, and more.  A copy of Citizen: An American Lyric or an age appropriate companion book will be given to each patron at all of the following events.

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, seemingly 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. 

For more information on The Big Read or to have your own Citizen: An American Lyric book group, call Noreen Scott Garrity at (856) 225-6306.



Family-Friendly Kick-Off Event
Saturday, October 21, 1 pm – 3 pm in Northgate Park (Off-campus), 6th & Elm Streets, Camden, NJ
The kick-off event will feature a storyteller, on hand to delight listeners, as well as art activities, book discussion group sign-ups, and giveaways. Each participant will receive a copy of Citizen: An American Lyric or an age appropriate companion book.


Storytelling Program: Tall Tales with Kyle J
Friday, November 3, 6 – 7:30pm
Camden County Library, Nilsa I. Cruz Downtown Branch
Ages 12 and under
Everyone’s favorite storyteller, Kyle Jakubowski, will weave his delightful word magic and captivate children of all ages through interactive storytelling. The session includes several different stories adapted from picture books. The children help to tell the stories through call-and-response, creative movement, and other ways that provide engaged learning and encourage an interest in reading.
Space is limited. Call ahead to reserve your space. Contact Miranda Powell at (856) 225-6202.


Citizen: An American Lyric Book Exhibition
November 7- December 9, 2017
Paul Robeson Library
The Paul Robeson Library will feature a collection of books, biographies, and criticism related to Claudia Rankine’s Citizen: An American Lyric.


Rutgers-Camden Faculty Lectures on Citizen: An American Lyric

Patrick Rosal
Wednesday, October 18, 2017, 11:30am-12:30pm
Stedman Gallery, Fine Arts Building
Patrick Rosal, Associate Professor of Creative Writing and English, is the author of four full-length poetry collections. The most recent, Brooklyn Antediluvian, examines race and multiracial histories. His poems and essays have been published widely in journals and anthologies including The New York Times, Tin House, New England Review, and The Best American Poetry.


Martin Rosenberg: Race & Representation in Art & Culture
Thursday, October 19 at 12:45pm-1:45pm
Stedman Gallery, Fine Arts Building
Martin Rosenberg, Professor of Art History, will lecture on the artwork used as illustration throughout the book. Dr. Rosenberg is a specialist in 18th-21st  century art theory, criticism and practice, and feminist art history and art education. His books include Raphael and France: The Artist as Paradigm and Symbol (Penn State Press, 1995), and Gender Matters in Art Education, co-authored with Frances Thurber, Davis, 2007.


Gregory Pardlo
Thursday, October 26, 2017, 12:45-1:45 pm
Stedman Gallery, Fine Arts Building
Gregory Pardlo, Assistant Professor of Creative Writing/English, won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for his Poetry collection, Digest (Four Way Books, 2014). Digest was shortlisted for the 2015 NAACP Image Award and was a finalist for the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award.


Keith Green – Citizen: An American Lyric in Historic Context
Wednesday, November 1, 2017 at 11:30am-12:30pm
Stedman Gallery, Fine Arts Building
Dr. Keith Green, Associate professor of English, and Director of the Africana Studies program, will present Citizen: An American Lyric in Historic Context. Keith Green’s research interests lie in African American literature, and in particular, in the study of the antebellum era, self-referential writing, African-Native American literature, and slave narratives.


Nursing Panel and Discussion on Health Equity through the Lens of Citizen: An American Lyric
Wednesday, January 31, 2018, 5-7 pm
Location TBD
Panelists include:
Patricia Suplee, PhD, RNC-OB Studies maternal health in low-income urban communities, and the healthcare needs of African-American women and families; Rahshida Atkins, PhD, APNc Studies depression in Black single mothers; healthcare disparities; and develops evidence-based interventions; and Bonnie Jerome-D’Emilia, PhD, MPH, RN Studies Health disparities associated with breast cancer screening, diagnoses and treatment.



It’s Magnetic! Poetry!
November 7 – December 9, 2017
Two Sites:
Paul Robeson Library
Camden County Library , Nilsa I. Cruz Downtown Branch
Participants of all ages will have the opportunity to contribute to the growing installations of hand crafted magnetic poetry in both the Nilsa I. Cruz Library and the Paul Robeson Library, Rutgers–Camden.



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The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.
RCCA arts education programs are made possible in part with generous support from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, Subaru of America Foundation, and other generous supporters.