AViD Presents: Hanif Abdurraqib

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Hanif Abdurraqib is an award-winning poet, essayist, and cultural critic from Columbus, Ohio. His first collection of essays, They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us, was released in 2017, and his second nonfiction book, Go Ahead In The Rain: Notes To A Tribe Called Quest, was published in 2019. Both received wide critical acclaim, being named to several “best of the year” lists, including that of Buzzfeed, The Washington Post, GQ, Paste, Pitchfork, and more. His second collection of poems, A Fortune For Your Disaster, was released in September 2019.

His newest book, being released in March 2021, is titled A Little Devil in America: Notes in Praise of Black Performance. In the book, Hanif reflects on Black performance and performers and how they are inextricably woven into the fabric of American culture. From major figures such as Merry Clayton, Jacqueline Baker, and Beyoncé to more common examples like a dance marathon, or “the instant in a game of spades right after the cards are dealt,” Abdurraqib writes how these moments have layers of resonance in Black and white cultures, politics, and his own personal life journey.

The 2021 season of AViD is sponsored by the Des Moines Public Library Foundation with support from these generous donors: Nationwide Foundation, Union Pacific Foundation, Kelly and Brad Edmister, Principal, Humanities Iowa and the National Endownment for the Humanities, Mary K. and Daniel M. Kelly Family Foundation, Karen Shaff and Steven Jayne, Pamela Bass-Bookey and Harry Bookey, Cultivating Compassion: The Dr. Richard Deming Foundation, Dr. Katherine and Andrew Hauser, Douglas and Deborah West, Cynthia O’Brien and Michael Fitzpatrick, Mary M. Riche, Shelley and Martin Brody, Dawn Taylor, Judy Blank, Jann Freed and John Fisher, Barbara and Jon Yankey, and The Des Moines Register (in-kind) and Iowa Public Radio (in-kind).