Kemi Alabi wins First Book Award from US poets academy


By AGENCY

Kemi Alabi is the recipient of the First Book Award from the Academy of American Poets. Alabi's 'Against Heaven' is scheduled for publication in Spring 2022. Photo: AP

A Chicago-based writer and activist has received the First Book Award from the Academy of American Poets. Kemi Alabi's Against Heaven is scheduled for publication in Spring 2022.

Alabi, chosen for the honour by the acclaimed poet Claudia Rankine, will receive US$5,000 (RM21,000) and a six-week, all-expenses-paid residency at the Civitella Ranieri Center in Umbria, Italy. The academy will also purchase and distribute thousands of copies of Against Heaven.

Rankine said in a recent statement that Against All Heaven was a virtuosic and multi-layered exploration of "black queer subjectivity.”

"At once sonic and disruptive, these poems pull together everything in a world where nothing is sacred, ” she said.

"In this energetic and brilliant debut, the thrust of the lyric dislodges all that is stuck and stagnant, creating new possibilities for utterance.”

Alabi is cultural strategy director of Forward Together, which helps communities combat marginalisation based "on race, sexuality, and gender." Previous winners of the First Book Award, established in 1975, include Nicole Cooley and Jenny Xie. - AP

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Poet , Author , Kemi Alabi , Activist , First Book Award

   

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