Hanif Abdurraqib & Gillian McCain

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Poet and cultural critic Hanif Abdurraqib, and writers and oral historian Gillian McCain both make their work at the crowded, noisy, and very often wild intersection of spoken word, music, subculture, and investigative poetry. With a punk dedication to challenging the world as it is as a way to imagine it otherwise, Abdurraqib’s work explores the community, both vitalizing and impermanent, that is formed around loving a band, a poem, a sound, and your friends. And with an investigative journalist’s commitment to getting to the bottom of the story, McCain, with her collaborator Legs McNeil, tells the tales of their interview subjects by weaving them into a kaleidoscopic narrative, resulting in a kind of multi-layered non fiction novel that is full of sex, drugs, rock and roll, and in the case of their new book, cultural history and crime.

Hanif Abdurraqib

Hanif Abdurraqib is a poet, essayist, and cultural critic from Columbus, Ohio. 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 University of Texas press in February 2019. The book became a New York Times Bestseller, and was met with critical acclaim. His second collection of poems, A Fortune For Your Disaster, was released by Tin House Books in September 2019.

Photo: Annie Watts

Gillian McCain

Gillian McCain is the author of two books of poetry, Tilt and Religion and co-author of Descent of the Dolls. With Legs McNeil she co-wrote Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk and co-edited Dear Nobody: The True Story of Mary Rose. She is the former Program Coordinator and Board President of The Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church. She lives in New York City.