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The Poetry of Music — The Reed College Quest


The way Hanif Abdurraqib reads poetry makes you wonder why we don’t put more thought into how prose sounds. His writing is a field of collisions for these two genres, each constantly demonstrating how capable it is of becoming the other. It makes you wonder why we often don’t think about the bodies that language comes from, about how breathing and the pauses poetry creates are a percussion, about how sentences have a rhythm in the pattern and pacing of words and the stresses of syllables, and how when those rhythms end in massive emotion the air presses down and silence sinks over everything — everyone present participating in the punctuation.

Hanif Abdurraqib is a poet from Columbus, Ohio. He writes essays about what we take in when we listen to music, about what music asks of us and what it connects us to. He writes about the meaning music has, about the precise way it moves us, about the feeling it allows us access to,…



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