Hanif Abdurraqib Internationally Acclaimed Poet 
to Address Graduates at the 152 Commencement Ceremony

The Art Academy of Cincinnati is pleased to announce Hanif Abdurraqibinternationally acclaimed poet, essayist, and cultural critic as commencement speaker for the 152nd graduation ceremony. The ceremony will be held Sunday, May 16, 2021, 10 am—1 pm.

Recently featured on NPR’s Fresh AirAbdurraqib will champion the class of 2021 to realize their creative visions. His first collection of essays They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us, was released in winter 2017 by Two Dollar Radio and was named a book of the year by Buzzfeed, NPR, Oprah Magazine, among others.  

Art Academy senior Amyia Carroll (BFA 2021) referenced his work in her recent capstone project. Carroll states, “I remember reading Hanif Abdurraqib’sThey Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us, and this line always stayed with me, ‘The truth is, if we don’t write our own stories, there is someone else waiting to do it for us. And those people, waiting with their pens, often don’t look like we do and don’t have our best interests in mind,’ with this, I discovered my role as a designer was not only crucial to who I am today, but why I chose to become a creative.”  

 “His work made me think about using our voices to tell our own stories, and as an artist, how can I be responsible for making sure that if I’m telling someone else’s story, I’m doing it authentically.” 

A photo of Hanif Abdurraqib

About Hanif Abdurraqib:
Hanif 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 poetry collection,The Crown Ain’t Worth Much, was released in June 2016 from Button Poetry. It was named a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Book Prize, and was nominated for a Hurston-Wright Legacy Award. With Big Lucks, he released a limited-edition chapbook, Vintage Sadness, in summer 2017 (you cannot get it anymore and he is very sorry.) His first collection of essays, They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us, was released in winter 2017 by Two Dollar Radio and was named a book of the year by Buzzfeed, Esquire, NPR, Oprah Magazine, Paste, CBC, The Los Angeles Review, Pitchfork, and The Chicago Tribune, among others. He released Go Ahead In The Rain: Notes To A Tribe Called Quest with University of Texas press in February 2019. The book became a New York Times Bestseller, was a finalist for the Kirkus Prize, and was longlisted for the National Book Award. His second collection of poems,A Fortune For Your Disaster, was released in 2019 by Tin House, and won the 2020 Lenore Marshall Prize. In 2021, he will release the book A Little Devil In America with Random House. He is a graduate of Beechcroft High School.