Hanif Abdurraqib is a poet, essayist, and cultural critic from Columbus, Ohio. His first poetry collection, The Crown Ain’t Worth Much, was named a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Book Award and was nominated for a Hurston-Wright Legacy Award. His collection of essays, They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us, was named a book of 2017 by BuzzFeed, Esquire, NPR, O: The Oprah Magazine, and Pitchfork among others. His most recent book is Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to A Tribe Called Quest.
“A Fortune for Your Disaster proves that, if you pay attention, Black people have defined and still define themselves for themselves amid roses and dandelions, cardinals and violets, the blues of music and police uniforms, prayer and swagger, Kehinde Wiley paintings and too many funerals, the streets of bleak cities and the fraught histories of ‘a kill or be killed / nation.’ The disaster is not us or ours but what we endure, forced and as a matter of course, whether our presence is acknowledged or not, on our terms or not. As death insists on invading our lives, we keep making more and more beauty in order to survive it. If ‘memory is a field / with endless graves’ as disasters of the past bleed relentlessly into present and thus menace the future, Hanif Abdurraqib’s poems encompass the quiet and often lonely genius of our creativity as a means to ‘imagine that anything / can become us.’ The beauty of our excellence is soundtracked by love and violence, the ‘agony threaded together by the same chorus’ of what we fight for and how we continue, visibly or secretly garlanded, heralded by our own painfully ecstatic voices ‘making [our] own ending.’ The fortune is us and it is ours. With a music as richly profound as we are, Abdurraqib makes it undeniably so.”
—Khadijah Queen, author of I'm So Fine: A List of Famous Men & What I Had On