Accuracy and Ampersands | Sojourners

Accuracy and Ampersands

A review of ‘A Fortune for Your Disaster,’ by Hanif Abdurraqib.
Tin House Books

HERE WE LEARN from the ghost of Marvin Gaye, question the ethics of Nikola Tesla, examine the character of God, and drift in lament and wonder.

In these poems by Hanif Abdurraqib, violence appears in different forms. In some lines, it is a fistfight between teenagers in a schoolyard, in others the anti-Blackness of a suburb or the music industry: “[T]he mailman still hands me bills like I should feel lucky to have my name on anything in this town,” Abdurraqib writes.

Thirteen of the 51 poems are titled after a criticism he heard from a white woman at a poetry reading in 2016: “How can black people write about flowers at a time like this?”

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