Reading & Q&A with Kemi Alabi

Mar 5, 2024

06:30 PM - 07:30 PM

English-Philosophy Building, 304 EPB

251 West Iowa Avenue, Iowa City, IA 52242

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Kemi Alabi

The English Department will be hosting writer Kemi Alabi for a reading and Q&A.

From kemialabi.com: Winner of the Academy of American Poets First Book Award, selected by Claudia Rankine · Kate Tufts Discovery Award Finalist · Chicago Review of Books Award Winner · Publishing Triangle Award Finalist · A New York Public Library Best Book of 2022

Kemi Alabi’s transcendent debut reimagines the poetic and cultural traditions from which it is born, troubling the waters of some of our country’s central and ordained fictions—those mythic politics of respectability, resilience, and redemption. Instead of turning to a salvation that has been forced upon them, Alabi turns to the body and the earth as sites of paradise defined by the pleasure and possibility of Black, queer fugitivity. Through tender love poems, righteous prayers, and vital provocations, we see the colonizers we carry within ourselves being laid to rest.

Against Heaven is a praise song made for the flames of a burning empire—a freedom dream that shapeshifts into boundless multiplicities for the wounds made in the name of White supremacy and its gods. Alabi has written an astonishing collection of magnificent range, commanding the full spectrum of the Black, queer spirit’s capacity for magic, love, and ferocity in service of healing—the highest power there is.

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