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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 By Hanif Abdurraqib, Eve L. Ewing (Foreword by) Cover Image
By Hanif Abdurraqib, Eve L. Ewing (Foreword by)
$16.99
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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 (Elizabeth Acevedo)
* A "Best Book of 2017" --Rolling Stone (2018), 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.

About the Author


Hanif Abdurraqib -- a 2021 MacArthur 'Genius' Grant Recipient -- 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. He is the author of the poetry collections The Crown Ain't Worth Much, a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Book Prize, and A Fortune For Your Disaster, which won the 2020 Lenore Marshall Prize, and the essay collections They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us, named a best book of the year by Buzzfeed, Esquire, NPR, Oprah Magazine, Paste, CBC, The Los Angeles Review, Pitchfork, and The Chicago Tribune, among others; Go Ahead In The Rain: Notes To A Tribe Called Quest, a New York Times Bestseller, a finalist for the Kirkus Prize, and longlisted for the National Book Award; and A Little Devil In America, which was shortlisted for the National Book Award. He is a graduate of Beechcroft High School.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781937512651
ISBN-10: 1937512657
Publisher: Two Dollar Radio
Publication Date: November 7th, 2017
Pages: 236
Language: English