In celebration of its tenth anniversary, the NEA Big Read initiative has added books by contemporary authors written during the past fifty years and three of the new additions are poetry collections—Citizen: An American Lyric by Academy of American Poets Chancellor Claudia Rankine, How We Became Human: New and Selected Poems 1999-2002 by Wallace Stevens Award winner Joy Harjo, and Book of Hours by Lenore Marshall Prize winner Kevin Young. If you're an organization considering participating in the NEA Big Read, we hope you'll take a look at the resources we've put together to help you bring poetry to your community.
"Color Codes" by Dan Chiasson, The New Yorker, October 27, 2014
"Citizen: An American Lyric," Tess Taylor, National Public Radio, All Things Considered, November 20, 2014
"'Citizen: An American Lyric' meditates on the trauma of racism," by Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times, August 5, 2015
"Claudia Rankine’s editor on the genius of ‘Citizen,’" by Ron Charles, The Washington Post, January 21, 2015
"Claudia Rankine: ‘Blackness in the white imagination has nothing to do with black people,'" by Kate Kellaway, The Guardian, December 27, 2015
"Claudia Rankine in Conversation," September 15, 2009
Incredible Bridges:“from Citizen, VI [On the train the woman standing]” by Claudia Rankine with video of the poet reading
Born in Jamaica in 1963, Claudia Rankine is the author of Citizen: An American Lyric (Graywolf Press, 2014), which received the 2014 National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry and Don’t Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric (Graywolf Press, 2004); and PLOT (Grove Press, 2001).
"Award-winning Joy Harjo on the Binds of Culture and More," So to Speak: a feminist journal of language and art
"Having to Fight for It: An Interview with Poet/Musician Joy Harjo by Joshua Barnes, Sampsonia Way, November 15, 2013
"The Roots of Poetry Lead to Music: Interview" by Simmons B. Buntin, Terrain.org: A Journal of the Built + Natural Environments, October 22, 2006
"Ancestors: A Mapping of Indigenous Poetry and Poets" by Joy Harjo, Blaney Lecture, October 9, 2015
"A Sacred Connection to the Sun" by Joy Harjo, This I Believe, Weekend Edition Sunday, National Public Radio, July 8, 2007
Incredible Bridges: "Remember: by Joy Harjo, a lesson plan on Harjo's poem with video of the poet reading
Joy Harjo was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma on May 9, 1951, and is a member of the Mvskoke/Creek Nation. Recipient of the 2015 Wallace Stevens Award, her poetry collections include Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings (W. W. Norton, 2015); How We Became Human: New and Selected Poems 1999-2002 (W. W. Norton, 2002); and A Map to the Next World: Poems (W. W. Norton, 2000).
In Book of Hours, Kevin Young’s eighth poetry collection, he marks the tenth anniversary of his father’s sudden and unexpected death in poems that recount the process of bereavement and creates a language of loss while also celebrating life through accounts of the birth of his son.
"‘Book of Hours’ by Kevin Young and ‘Bicentennial’ by Dan Chiasson," by Michael Andor Brodeur, Boston Globe, March 22, 2014
"Twinning Grief and Hope, A Poet Softens Pain's Sharp Edge," by Craig Morgan Teicher, National Public Radio, March 12, 2014
"Kevin Young: A Song for the Dead," Shelf Awareness, April 1, 2014
"Kevin Young Talks about Loss, Joy, and 'Book of Hours'" by Marjorie Kehe, The Christian Science Monitor, April 11, 2014
"The Everyday Extraordinary" by Parul Kapur Hinzen, Guernica,
December 1, 2014
Kevin Young was born 1970 in Lincoln, Nebraska. His poetry collections include Blue Laws: Selected and Uncollected Poems, 1995-2015 (Alfred A. Knopf, 2016) and Book of Hours (Alfred A. Knopf, 2014), winner of the 2015 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize.
Kevin Young and Gabrielle Hamilton, Fall Conversation Series, New York Public Library, November 19, 2015