The judges' citation states, "The moral vision of Claudia Rankine’s poetry is astounding. In a body of work that pushes the boundaries of the contemporary lyric, Rankine has managed to make space for meditation and vigorous debate upon some of the most relevant and troubling social themes of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Maintaining a firm grasp upon the tools we normally associate with the lyric poet, such as associative shifts and leaps, allusion, sonic agility, elegy, and a deep and resonant imagery, Rankine’s poems also foster a quite nearly cinematic sense of suspense, striking notes of urgency, anxiety, and momentous inevitability. In particular, the collections Don’t Let Me Be Lonely
and Citizen: An American Lyric
invite the reader to empathize with the social 'other,' with victims of violent aggression committed in hatred and ignorance, and with speakers subject to a more generalized American malaise. These poems do the work of art of the highest order—teaching, chastening, changing, astounding, and humanizing the reader. It was very easy to discern the value of this poet’s body of work. In both vision and voice she has distinguished herself as a singular perspective, a consummate talent, and a courageous spirit. We are unanimous and enthusiastic in our decision to award her the 2014 Jackson Poetry Prize."