Alabi, Kemi 2023

Wednesday, January 18, 2023
Blue Hour Reading Series with Kemi Alabi and Jessica Walsh
Haymarket House


Beloved, last night I doused us in good bourbon,
struck a match between our teeth, slid the lit head
lip to chest, throat zippered open and spilling.
Our union demands a sacrifice. Take my masks—
my wretched, immaculate children. Sharp smiles
bored by cavities. Braids thick with hair slashed off
lovers as they slept.

– Kemi Alabi, “A Wedding, or What We Unlearned from Descartes”

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Watch Kemi Alabi’s 2023 reading with Jessica Walsh at the Chicago Poetry Center:

Kemi Alabi begins at 42:25 minutes.

Read Kemi Alabi’s interview with Beloit Poetry Journal:

Beloit Poetry Journal

How did the poem ” Against Heaven ” come into being? Tell us a little about the origin, inspiration, or circumstances surrounding it. ‍My debut collection Against Heaven has five title poems. I didn’t expect to write five, but after the first “Against Heaven” emerged during the 2020 uprisings, I couldn’t resist new arguments and approaches.

yusef says this morning makes us the oldest song in any god’s throat. i dress this on a new love whose fingers dissolve time, who plumes me into a whole choir, reconstructs her mouth to fit the worship. but nightdreams call me a liar, show only your face. my blood tides to the timbre of your voice and nothing else.

– Kemi Alabi, “the oldest song”

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Watch Kemi Alabi discuss their poetry collection Against Heaven:

More info on Kemi Alabi⇒