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They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us

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* 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.

ISBN-13: 9781953387271

Media Type: Hardcover

Publisher: Two Dollar Radio

Publication Date: 11-15-2022

Pages: 290

Product Dimensions: 5.60(w) x 7.60(h) x 1.00(d)

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 (you cannot get it anymore and he is very sorry.) 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 released Go Ahead In The Rain: Notes To A Tribe Called Quest with Universityof Texas press in February 2019. The book became a New York Times Bestseller, was a finalist for the Kirkus Prize, and was longlisted for the National Book Award. His second collection of poems, A Fortune For Your Disaster, was released in 2019 by Tin House, and won the 2020 Lenore Marshall Prize. In 2021, he released the book A Little Devil In America with Random House, which was a finalist for the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the The PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay. The book won the 2022 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction and the Gordon Burn Prize. Hanif is a graduate of Beechcroft High School. Eve L. Ewing is the award-winning author of several books, including the poetry collections Electric Arches and 1919, the nonfiction work Ghosts in the Schoolyard: Racism and School Closings on Chicago's South Side, and a novel for young readers, Maya and the Robot. She is the co-author (with Nate Marshall) of the play No Blue Memories: The Life of Gwendolyn Brooks. She has also written several comics for Marvel Comics, most notably the Ironheart series. Dr. Ewing co-wrote a story with Janelle Monáe as a contributor to the collection of Black queer Afrofuturist fiction The Memory Librarian, and she also co-wrote the young adult graphic novel Change the Game with Colin Kaepernick. She was born in Chicago, where she lives and teaches. Jason Reynolds is a #1 New York Times bestselling author, a Newbery Award Honoree, a Printz Award Honoree, a two-time National Book Award finalist, a Kirkus Award winner, a Carnegie Medal winner, a two-time Walter Dean Myers Award winner, an NAACP Image Award Winner, and the recipient of multiple Coretta Scott King honors. He's also the 2020-2022 National Ambassador for Young People's Literature. His many books include All American Boys (co-written with Brendan Kiely); When I Was the Greatest; The Boy in the Black Suit; Stamped; As Brave as You; For Every One; the Track series (Ghost, Patina, Sunny, and Lu); Look Both Ways; Stuntboy, in the Meantime; Ain't Burned All the Bright; My Name Is Jason. Mine Too. (with Jason Griffin); and Long Way Down, which received a Newbery Honor, a Printz Honor, and a Coretta Scott King Honor. He lives in Washington, DC. You can find his ramblings at JasonWritesBooks.com.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Hanif Abdurraqib's music writing possesses a singular, impossible magic—he cracks open the very personal nature of fandom with empathy and skepticism in equal measure. In his essays and criticism he lenses history through heartbreak and limns the vast connections between performer and audience. Through a Carly Rae Jepsen show he explores loneliness, Bruce Springsteen's The River takes us to Ferguson, Migos begets a meditation on the 'burbs. Like Greil Marcus before him, when Abdurraqib is writing about music, what he is really getting at is the true nature of life and death in America, in this moment. They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us is the book I have been waiting for; it is the book we need."

—Jessica Hopper

"Abdurraqib bridges the bravado and bling of praise with the blood and tears of elegy."

—Terrance Hayes

"Abdurraqib doesn't just understand the intent of songs on a deeper level than anyone else I've ever met or read, he understands them on levels that even the artists cannot. He understands the way art reverberates long after it's collected and compiled and released. Music belongs to those who create it right up until the moment it doesn't. When a song is released, it belongs to everyone at once and there are a lot of writers who get intent right. There are a lot of people who hear an artist screaming into the canyon and correctly diagnose what they were trying to get at, but it takes someone special to hear the echoes. It takes someone special to hear the life a song takes on beyond intent, the way that it reacts with people, not the thing it meant but the things it'll come to mean to different people from different walks of life, all who will glean something unique, something personal but always something equally valuable from it. Abdurraqib has that gift and in this collection, he shows it off in a way that shines a light on just how much music belongs to everyone."

—Dan Campbell, Lead Singer of The Wonder Years and Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties