In this episode, poet and critic Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib debates with editor-at-large Andrew Grace on whether or not song lyrics should be considered literature. Ranging from considerations of Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen to Lil Yachty and 2 Chainz, Abdurraqib explains the importance of taking popular music seriously and notes how poets can enhance their craft by paying close attention to the lyric strategies of songwriters.
Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib is a poet, essayist, and cultural critic from Columbus, Ohio. His poetry has been published in Muzzle, Vinyl, PEN American, and various other journals. His essays and music criticism have been published in the FADER, Pitchfork, the New Yorker, and the New York Times. His first full length collection, The Crown Ain’t Worth Much, was released in June 2016 from Button Poetry, and was named a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Book prize and is currently a nominee for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. With Big Lucks, he released a limited edition chapbook, Vintage Sadness, in summer 2017. His first collection of essays, They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us, is being released in winter 2017 by Two Dollar Radio. He is a Callaloo Creative Writing Fellow, an interviewer at Union Station Magazine, and a poetry editor at Muzzle Magazine. He is a member of the poetry collective Echo Hotel with poet/essayist Eve Ewing.
Andrew Grace’s books of poetry include A Belonging Field (Salt Publishing, 2001), Shadeland (Ohio State University Press, 2008) and Sancta (Ahsahta Press, 2012). His poems have appeared in Poetry, Boston Review, Iowa Review, TriQuarterly and Prairie Schooner. He has been a Wallace Stegner Fellow in poetry at Stanford and the winner of an Academy of American Poets prize.