With family roots in Georgia (USA), I grew up in Georgia, North Carolina, and overseas. I went north to college, earning my bachelors in Philosophy from Yale, and my doctorate in English literature from The Graduate Center of the City University of New York. My dissertation, the basis for my first book, The Posthumous Voice in Women’s Writing, considered the feminist literary technique of writing one’s own elegy, that is, of writing as if from the place of the dead. After earning my doctorate, I moved to rural, coastal Maine to raise my then newborn son. In 2007, I took up a job teaching as a Lecturer for the University of Virginia, in Charlottesville, continuing to return to Maine each summer. I am the author of seven books of scholarship (published as Claire Raymond), and seven books of poetry (published as Claire Millikin).
The thread uniting my work is a deep concern with those who are silenced and invisible in our culture. My work contends with homelessness, displacement, and with the economic, raced, and gendered causes of dispossession. From After Houses- Poetry for the Homeless and Motels Where We Lived (both published in 2014) to my most recent book of poems, Ransom Street (2019), I seek a way to give voice to those on the margins of our country. My scholarship likewise engages questions of racial violence, in Witnessing Sadism in Texts of the American South (2014), and economic injustice, in The Photographic Uncanny: Photography, Homelessness, and Homesickness (2020). I believe the written word can overturn patterns of dispossession and oppression. That is the star that I follow in writing every book. My poetry books have been recognized as finalists for the Maine Literary Award in Poetry, while my scholarship has been the recipient of an Excellent in Diversity Fellowship.
My new projects include a scholarly book under contract The Selfie: Temporality and Contemporary Photography, and a book of poems, Surreal Dolls. I am a long distance runner, and a mother to an awesome teenage son.