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92Y's Read By

Nov 15, 2020

Hanif Abdurraqib on his selection:

This poem is an interesting choice for me, as someone who is always too anxious to engage in the act of singing at any karaoke night, but there is something I love about being present during a karaoke night. And what I think I love about seeing the kind of excitement that fans through a room or that fans through one of my friends when they’re on stage, singing a song that they know they know, is that karaoke is in some ways the height of the communal exercise of enjoying music. There is no real hierarchy; the person who is singing on the stage is not the profession who wrote the song; it almost in someways does not matter if they sing the song well. What matters is that they sing the song with a kind of unbridled enthusiasm that can tremor through a crowd and get that crowd to also tilt towards a type of ecstasy, knowing that they know a song too. It is this really, to me, fascinating mold of music and music enjoyment. So watching a friend of mine transform into someone entirely different onstage, and through that transformation, this grand excitement—it allows me to hear a song differently. And I think this poem encompasses that. And I think this poem celebrates a moment of loving music in a way that feels familiar to me—the interior love of a song—where a song becomes more what we need it to be, more than what it might have been.

All Heathens at

Music: "Shift of Currents" by Blue Dot Sessions // CC BY-NC 2.0