A book described by one critic as eavesdropping “on America and a racism that has never gone away” has won the top award at the 2015 Forward prizes for poetry.

Claudia Rankine has already won the National Book Critics Circle award in the US for Citizen: An American Lyric. On Monday night at a ceremony in London she was named winner of the Forward prize for best collection.

Citizen was described by the jury as a “powerful book for our time”. The chair of judges, AL Kennedy, added: “This is writing we can recommend with real urgency and joy. It’s a stylistically daring poetic project about the dehumanisation of those deemed outsiders ‐ we found it exhilarating and genuinely transformative.”

Kennedy said she and other judges had individually “pressed this book on others with real fervour. It will, we know, raise questions about the nature, purpose and importance of poetry.” Citizen is published as poetry but some have described as more of a lyric essay.

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Links:

The Guardian | Claudia Rankine

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