Kemi Alabi - Against Heaven - Danez Smith

Tuesday, June 28, 2022 - 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Event Presenter/Author: 
Kemi Alabi

Kemi Alabi will discuss their debut poetry collection Against Heaven. They will be joined in conversation by Danez Smith

This is a virtual event. Register HERE

About the book: 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.

About the author: Kemi Alabi is the author of Against Heaven, selected by Claudia Rankine as winner of the Academy of American Poets First Book Award, and coeditor of The Echoing Ida Collection. Their poems appear in the Atlantic, Poetry, Boston Review, and elsewhere. Born in Wisconsin on a Sunday in July, they now live in Chicago, IL.

About the interlocutor: Danez Smith is the author of three collections including Homie and Don’t Call Us Dead. They have won the Forward Prize for Best Collection, the Minnesota Book Award in Poetry, the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry, the Kate Tufts Discovery Award, and have been a finalist for the NAACP Image Award in Poetry, the National Book Critic Circle Award, and the National Book Award. Danez's poetry and prose has been featured in Vanity Fair, The New York Times, The New Yorker, GQ, Best American Poetry and on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Danez is a member of the Dark Noise Collective. Former co-host of the Webby nominated podcast VS (Versus), they live in Minneapolis near their people. 

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