Of all the books to enter the wider consciousness in the last decade, Citizen is the one to which I have returned most frequently. The book comes up in conversation in an astonishing array of situations, all of which serve to illustrate one thing: there is an appetite at the moment for discourse, for enquiry, for the posing of important and difficult questions. This tendency might not be anything new, but the media through which we can express it have multiplied in the last few years. Instagram and Tumblr poets are now part of popular culture, and the boundaries that divide poetry from other creative modes are being called into question. What does it matter if a text is or isn’t a poem as we commonly understand that term; what does that text make us feel? This is the question that sits at the heart of Claudia Rankine’s artistic practice, a practice which centres the art itself, the text, asking what form it should take to realise its potential rather than trying to bend that work into an existing shape so that it is recognisable as X or Y. What follows is a textual account of a conversation I was lucky enough to have with Claudia Rankine while she was in London for Poetry International at The Southbank Centre. Our conversation took place over breakfast — poached eggs on toast, if I recall — in a wonderfully apposite location, the riverside bar of Mondrian London, a hotel that borders on being a gallery space, which sits next to the Sea Containers HQ of Ogilvy and Mather, a short walk from Tate Modern. What follows cannot capture the sound of clinking glasses and laughter that punctuated our conversation, but let that sit in your mind as background as you read and enter the mind of one of anglophone poetry’s most generous and engaged practitioners.