Fresno County Public Library's Big Read: 'Citizen: An American Lyric' by Claudia Rankine

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Citizen: An American Lyric, by award-winning and New York Times best-selling author Claudia Rankine, is the book featured this year by the Fresno County Public Library for the "Big Read."

Citizen was published in 2014, and it is the first work of poetry to become a New York Times bestseller. The book is a combination of poetry, commentary, visual art, quotations from artists and critics. It dives into the topic of racism in America.



The three-month-long "Big Read" program will be held in collaboration with several area organizations, such as Fresno City College, Fresno State's Henry Madden Library, Central Unified School District, Inner Ear, and the West Fresno Family Resource Center.

As part of the program, the Fresno County Public Library will host several events:

  • Community Town hall session titled "Let's Talk about Race" on Saturday, February 29 at 2:30 PM at the Central Library (Downtown). A panel of community members with will be discussing the backgrounds, identities and experiences of American people of color.
  • Poetry Reading on Wednesday, March 11 at 6 PM at the Betty Rodriguez Regional Library with a panel of past Fresno Poet Laureates James Tyner, Bryan Medina, and Lee Herrick
  • Poetry Workshop with former Fresno Poet Laureate, Bryan Medina on Wednesday, March 18 at 6 PM at the Betty Rodriguez Regional Library
  • Slam Poetry for Teens on Friday, March 27 at 6 PM at the West Fresno Library with prizes awarded to the top 3 performers. Judges will be from Fresno State's Master of Fine Arts program.
  • Two staged readings of Citizen: Friday, April 24 at 5:30 PM at the Henry Madden Library at Fresno State and Saturday, April 25 at 2:30 PM at the West Fresno Library


  • The Big Read, an initiative of the NEA and Arts Midwest, seeks to broaden our understanding of our world and the communities we live in through the bond of a good book. The program awards grants to 75 communities on an annual basis and each community picks a book that inspires conversation and discovery.

    RELATED: Valley Focus: Big Read includes several Fresno County events

    For more information about the Big Read, other library programs, services, and specific branch hours, please go to FresnoLibrary.org, or call the Library at 559-600-7323.
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