Hanif Abdurraqib

Hanif Abdurraqib turns a poet’s gaze toward cultural archives, finds grace in the kinetic energy of performing bodies, and shows us how to find joy and generosity in unlikely places.

A native of Columbus, Ohio, Hanif Abdurraqib is the author of three critically acclaimed books of nonfiction and five poetry collections. A writer of extraordinary depth, style, and range, Abdurraqib is a public intellectual in the truest sense of the term, combining discursive flexibility with a profound emotional and intellectual rigor. In both his essays and in books like A Little Devil in America: In Praise of Black Performance (2021), Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to a Tribe Called Quest (2019), and They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us (2017), Abdurraqib moves through a wide range of subjects—Michael Jackson and moon walks, Sun Ra and NASA missions—incorporating the personal and the political with both joy and seeming effortlessness. Beautiful, vital, and moving, Abdurraqib’s extraordinary body of criticism reminds us that, to paraphrase Susan Sontag, thinking is a form of feeling and feeling a form of thinking. The recipient of an Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction (2022), the Gordon Burn Prize (2021), and a MacArthur Fellowship (2021) among other honors, Abdurraqib is also the host of a weekly podcast called “Object of Sound” with Sonos Radio.

Gratitude is a practice, and is not a stagnant one, it is a practice that grows, continually, and it has grown mightily for me here, especially as I see the company I am in. The real gift of doing the work is getting to do it alongside writers you admire, and to share some decoration with them is an added joyful bonus. HANIF ABDURRAQIB