Cheryl Boyce-Taylor in conversation with Hanif Abdurraqib to celebrate the release of Boyce-Taylor’s intimate collection Mama Phife Represents, a tribute to her departed son Malik ‘Phife Dawg’ Taylor of the legendary hip-hop trio A Tribe Called Quest.
Cheryl Boyce-Taylor is a poet and teaching artist. She earned an MFA from Stonecoast at the University of Southern Maine and an MSW from Fordham University. Her collections of poetry include Raw Air (2000), Night When Moon Follows (2000), Convincing the Body (2005), and Arrival(2017), which was a finalist for the Paterson Poetry Prize.
The founder and curator of Calypso Muse and the Glitter Pomegranate Performance Series, Boyce-Taylor is also a poetry judge for the New York Foundation for the Arts and the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice. She has led workshops for Cave Canem, Poets & Writers, and the Caribbean Literary and Cultural Center. Her poetry has been commissioned by The Joyce Theater and the National Endowment for the Arts for Ronald K. Brown’s Evidence, A Dance Company.
Boyce-Taylor is the recipient of the 2015 Barnes & Noble Writers For Writers Award and a VONA fellow. Her life papers and portfolio are stored at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York City.
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.