Peach Picks: Poetry from Kang and Abdurraqib

by / Jul. 17, 2018 2pm EST



Last Friday, Peach featured Inam Kang’s shortlisted poem, “the feds don’t know i’m a scorpio.” Kang’s poem communicates alienation with a quiet sense of humor that belies a great sadness beneath the surface. Lines like “calling on my age, / my money, / my good song — / i reign on the weight of that alone. / come for me, come for me / i’m your last stop before you hit / the moon” transform an endless accumulation of personal prejudice and anxiety into something universal, perhaps even triumphant. As that sense of triumph extends to a place far outside of a singular viewpoint, Kang shows the reader an endless cycle of defeat, the transitory nature of victory over that which would hold us down, and the ways confronting and acknowledging the cycle can lend us a sense of where we should place our hope and faith. “i wonder if people still write about the earth,” he writes, “about things they’ve completely given up / on saving.” —MATTHEW BOOKIN

The Crown Ain’t Worth Much
by Hanif Abdurraqib
Button Poetry / 2016 / poetry collection

The Crown Ain’t Worth Much is the first full-length collection of poetry by Columbus, Ohio-based cultural critic and poet Hanif Abdurraqib. The collection is an intensely lyrical blend of pop culture and the autobiographical. The poems meditate on family, love, death, loss, and race.
“When people pay / money to watch, we call this sport. When people spill from their / apartments / into a dim alley or a decaying school yard to watch, we call this the / ghetto.”
Abdurraqib uses language masterfully as a musical vehicle that propels the reader down the page and onto the streets of the eastside of Columbus, into the punk clubs and chairs of black barbershops and the summers of his youth where “anything can be a gun if the darkness / surrounding it is hungry enough…” These are poems of unflinching strength written by one of the most exciting young writers working today. It’s a book of soulful reflection on what’s
happening in our cities today and what it’s like to be in those cities as a black man. Abdurraqib will be reading in Buffalo this Saturday as featured poet for Just Buffalo Literary Center’s SILO CITY READING SERIES. He will share the silos with poet Tom Dreitlein, hip-hop poet & singer dev11n, and light sculpting installation artist Carlie Rickus. —NOAH FALCK

“Peach Picks” is a column of literary news and recommendations written by the editors of Peach Mag, an online literary magazine based in Buffalo, New York. For inquiries, contact the editors at