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They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us (Paperback)

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They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us Cover Image
By Hanif Abdurraqib, Eve L. Ewing (Foreword by)
$16.99
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(Essays & Criticism)

Staff Reviews


Hanif Abdurraqib's essays are observant, intelligent, and far-reaching; he faces the interiority of a breakup through the Weeknd, considers immortality and control of the elements through Prince, and experiences the moment when shame falls to dust through Carly Rae Jepsen. This collection has a distinct political awareness; these essays, even when considering shows and albums of decades past, are written for this moment, reacting to and engaging with our most recent presidential election cycle. 

Within this collection the music show becomes a study for human behavior. The feel of a venue, the performance of an artist, and the concertgoers' interactions with their neighbors are all lenses through which to understand both culture and personal experience. Music is community-making; Abdurraqib considers connections and divisions amongst people, and particularly the ways in which an anti-black society constantly puts the bodies and mental health of black Americans in jeopardy. Music can save lives within this society, but can also alienate further. 

Some of these essays are poems; some are imbued with the precise feeling of when a few strands of a familiar song bring a dead friend back to life. The urgency of this book calls upon us all to consider the act of looking at another person and seeing them, of loving them openly, of allowing ourselves the freedom to be beholden to others. Let's just say: Only Hanif Abdurraqib could have me listening to Carly Rae Jepsen while reading.

— Elizabeth

Hanif Abdurraqib's essays are observant, intelligent, and far-reaching; he faces the interiority of a breakup through the Weeknd, considers immortality and control of the elements through Prince, and experiences the moment when shame falls to dust through Carly Rae Jepsen. This collection has a distinct political awareness; these essays, even when considering shows and albums of decades past, are written for this moment, reacting to and engaging with our most recent presidential election cycle. 

Within this collection the music show becomes a study for human behavior. The feel of a venue, the performance of an artist, and the concertgoers' interactions with their neighbors are all lenses through which to understand both culture and personal experience. Music is community-making; Abdurraqib considers connections and divisions amongst people, and particularly the ways in which an anti-black society constantly puts the bodies and mental health of black Americans in jeopardy. Music can save lives within this society, but can also alienate further. 

Some of these essays are poems; some are imbued with the precise feeling of when a few strands of a familiar song bring a dead friend back to life. The urgency of this book calls upon us all to consider the act of looking at another person and seeing them, of loving them openly, of allowing ourselves the freedom to be beholden to others. Let's just say: Only Hanif Abdurraqib could have me listening to Carly Rae Jepsen while reading.

— Elizabeth

Description


*2018 12 best books to give this holiday season --TODAY Show
*Best Books of 2018 --Rolling Stone
A Best Book of 2017 --NPR, Buzzfeed, Paste Magazine, Esquire, Chicago Tribune, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, CBC, Stereogum, National Post, Entropy, Heavy, Book Riot, Chicago Review of Books, The Los Angeles Review, Michigan Daily
*American Booksellers Association (ABA) 'December 2017 Indie Next List Great Reads'
*Midwest Indie Bestseller

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.

Funny, painful, precise, desperate, and loving throughout. Not a day has sounded the same since I read him. --Greil Marcus, Village Voice

About the Author


Hanif Abdurraqib is a poet, essayist, and cultural critic from Columbus, Ohio. His poetry has been published in Muzzle, Vinyl, PEN American, and various other journals. His essays and music criticism have been published in The FADER, Pitchfork, The New Yorker, and The New York Times. His first full length poetry collection, The Crown Ain't Worth Much, was released in June 2016 from Button Poetry. It was named a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Book Prize, and was nominated for a Hurston-Wright Legacy Award. With Big Lucks, he released a limited edition chapbook, Vintage Sadness, in summer 2017. His first collection of essays, They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us, was released in winter 2017 by Two Dollar Radio and was named a book of the year by Buzzfeed, Esquire, NPR, Oprah Magazine, Paste, CBC, The Los Angeles Review, Pitchfork, and The Chicago Tribune, among others. He is a Callaloo Creative Writing Fellow, an interviewer at Union Station Magazine, and a poetry editor at Muzzle Magazine. He is a member of the poetry collective Echo Hotel with poet/essayist Eve Ewing.His next books are Go Ahead In The Rain, a biography of A Tribe Called Quest due out in 2019 by University of Texas Press, and They Don't Dance No' Mo', due out in 2020 by Random House.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781937512651
ISBN-10: 1937512657
Publisher: Two Dollar Radio
Publication Date: November 7th, 2017
Pages: 236
Language: English