Weekly Prompt: Responding to Rankine’s Open Letter

Claudia Rankine | Photo courtesy of John Lucas

Today’s prompt is a bit unconventional in the sense that it won’t ask you to dig into a particular element of craft or technique, but rather to engage in a larger conversation that’s developed in the past few weeks about creative writing, race, and the difficulty of navigating the relationship between the two — especially here, in America, in the 21st century.

If you aren’t familiar already with some of the questions and accusations that have risen from the fairly controversial discussion between Claudia Rankine and Tony Hoagland… well, you should be. ¬†Rankine’s personal¬†website gives a thorough account of the back-and-forth between herself and Hoagland in the period leading up to AWP (just click on the link to “AWP” listed under “Criticism”), and the Poetry Foundation blog offers a succinct¬†account of the conversation as well.

Take a moment to familiarize yourself with the conversation, then read the text of Rankine’s open letter:

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