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Join us for a reading with Hanif Abdurraqib and Danez Smith as we celebrate their work, including Hanif’s acclaimed book of essays They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us (Two Dollar Radio), and Danez’s poetry collection Don’t Call Us Dead (Graywolf Press), a finalist for the National Book Award in Poetry.
We are thrilled to welcome these two remarkable artists to the Open Book building to share their work. Reading in the Target Performance Hall followed by book signing and reception.
• They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us (Two Dollar Radio, 2017)
“A much-needed collection for our time. [Abdurraqib] has proven to be one of the most essential voices of his generation.”—NPR
“From his analysis of racism in Ohio mosh pits to his account of attending a Springsteen concert after visiting Michael Brown’s memorial in Ferguson, Abdurraqib represents a bold new voice in socio-music criticism.”—O, The Oprah Magazine
In an age of confusion, fear, and loss, Hanif Abdurraqib’s is a voice that matters. Whether he’s attending a Bruce Springsteen concert the day after visiting Michael Brown’s grave, or discussing public displays of affection at a Carly Rae Jepsen show, he writes with a poignancy and magnetism that resonates profoundly.
In the wake of the nightclub attacks in Paris, he recalls how he sought refuge as a teenager in music, at shows, and wonders whether the next generation of young Muslims will not be afforded that opportunity now. While discussing the everyday threat to the lives of black Americans, Abdurraqib recounts the first time he was ordered to the ground by police officers: for attempting to enter his own car.
In essays that have been published by the New York Times, MTV, and Pitchfork, among others—along with original, previously unreleased essays—Abdurraqib uses music and culture as a lens through which to view our world, so that we might better understand ourselves, and in so doing proves himself a bellwether for our times.
HANIF ABDURRAQIB is a poet, writer, and cultural critic from Columbus, Ohio. His essays and music criticism have been published in The FADER, Pitchfork, The New Yorker, and The New York Times. With Big Lucks, Hanif released a limited edition chapbook, Vintage Sadness, in Summer 2017. He is a Callaloo Creative Writing Fellow and previously worked for MTV News, where he wrote about the intersections of music, culture, and identity. Hanif also wrote the 2016 live shows: MTV Video Music Awards and VH1’s Unsilent Night. His first full length collection, The Crown Ain’t Worth Much, was one of 2016’s best-selling poetry books and was named a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Book prize. Hanif’s debut collection of essays titled, They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us, was published November of 2017 via Two Dollar Radio. He is a member of the poetry collective Echo Hotel with poet/essayist Eve L. Ewing.
• Don’t Call Us Dead (Graywolf Press, 2017)
“Danez Smith’s is a voice we need . . . . This is a mighty work and a tremendous offering.”––Tracy K. Smith, U.S. Poet Laureate
“Danez Smith is angry, erotic, politicized, innovative, classical, a formalist, an activist, and blends all of this without seeming to strain. . . This will be one of the year's essential books.”––NPR
“[Smith’s] poems are enriched to the point of volatility, but they pay out, often, in sudden joy.”––The New Yorker
Award-winning poet Danez Smith is a groundbreaking force, celebrated for deft lyrics, urgent subjects, and performative power. Don’t Call Us Dead opens with a heartrending sequence that imagines an afterlife for black men shot by police, a place where suspicion, violence, and grief are forgotten and replaced with the safety, love, and longevity they deserved here on earth. Smith turns then to desire, mortality—the dangers experienced in skin, body, and blood—and a diagnosis of HIV positive. “Some of us are killed / in pieces,” Smith writes, “some of us all at once.” Don’t Call Us Dead is an astonishing collection, one that confronts America, where every day is too often a funeral and not often enough a miracle.
DANEZ SMITH is a Black, queer, poz writer & performer from St. Paul, MN. Danez is the author of Don’t Call Us Dead (Graywolf Press, 2017), a finalist for the National Book Award, and [insert] boy (YesYes Books, 2014), winner of the Kate Tufts Discovery Award & the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry. Danez is also the author of two chapbooks, hands on your knees (2013, Penmanship Books) and black movie (2015, Button Poetry), winner of the Button Poetry Prize. They are the recipient of fellowships from the Poetry Foundation, the McKnight Foundation, and is a 2017 National Endowment for the Arts Fellow. Danez’s work has been featured widely including in on Buzzfeed, The New York Times, PBS NewsHour, Best American Poetry, Poetry Magazine, and on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Danez is a member of the Dark Noise Collective and is the co-host of VS with Franny Choi, a podcast sponsored by the Poetry Foundation and Postloudness.
BEOTIS CREATIVE is a boutique agency that represents a leading roster of contemporary speakers, poets, writers, and multidisciplinary artists of color.