Last updateThu, 02 Apr 2020 1pm


Visiting Writer Hanif Abdurraqib

Visiting Writer Hanif Abdurraqib 1Poet, essayist, and cultural critic Hanif Abdurraqib read to a jam packed audience of fans, faculty, and students in Wilson Auditorium as part of the University’s Visiting Writers Series last Thursday, March 7.

Abdurraqib’s recent works include his first full length poetry collection, The Crown Ain’t Worth Much, from June 2016, his first collection of essays titled They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us, published in the winter of 2017, and his most recent book Go Ahead in the Rain, published this year, which debuted as a New York Times Best Seller.

However, there is always a significant difference in reading the works of a published artist versus hearing that artist read their own work to their audience, which holds true for Abdurraqib.

Abdurraqib is not only a writer who captures his readers through his poetic and critical words on the page, but also through his powerful presence and sense of hope and inspiration for all who have the opportunity to see him in person.

While in Wilson Auditorium, he read an essay from his collection They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us titled “Defiance, Ohio is the Name of the Band,” as well as a soon to be published poem titled “When Michael Jackson Walked on the Moon.”

As part of the Visiting Writers Series, Hanif Abdurraqib also participated in an entertaining and insightful Q&A with those in attendance.

When asked by a student in the audience what initially motivated him to start writing, Abdurraqib answered: “I was a music critic and writer before I was a poet, and I grew up in a house where music was often played a lot, but not often talked about a lot.”

The writer continued with, “And I’ve always had such an interest in what was happening narrative-wise, such as what happens when people at concerts - when several bodies are in one place, looking for the same type of release – I’ve been interested in all of these lyrical, small, and different moving parts.”

“So much of what I write about music,” Abdurraqib went on, “is convincing myself that what I am experiencing is as magical and worthwhile as I hope it is,” he finished.

Also, when asked if he likes the University’s campus, Abdurraquib answered with laughter, “I do. I visited the Student Center, and I got some pizza, and I listened to the Student Activity Board’s playlist, which, to be frank, I think could use some fine tuning.”

Abdurraqib’s visit was both introspective and entertaining, where everyone left with a new outlook on the sounds going on all around them.

The artist’s latest work, Go Ahead in the Rain, a non-fiction book focusing on the hip-hop group called A Tribe Called Quest is out now.

His next book, They Don’t Dance No’ Mo,’ will be out next year.


Contact Information

The Outlook
Jules L. Plangere Jr. Center for Communication
and Instructional Technology (CCIT)
Room 260, 2nd floor

The Outlook
Monmouth University
400 Cedar Ave, West Long Branch, New Jersey

Phone: (732) 571-3481 | Fax: (732) 263-5151