Open Door: Sylvia Aguilar Zéleny, Kemi Alabi, Benji Hart & blake nemec

The Open Door series, curated by Noa/h Fields, highlights creative relationships in Chicago, including mentorship and collaboration.

Join us for a live in-person reading with Sylvia Aguilar-Zéleny, Kemi Alabi, Benji Hart, and blake nemec. This is a hybrid event, which will be offered in-person and via livestream.

Born in Hermosillo, Sonora, México, Sylvia Aguilar-Zéleny is a bilingual author of fiction and nonfiction. Her books have been published in México, Spain, Colombia, and the US. She is currently an associate professor and Director of the Online MFA at The University of Texas in El Paso.

Kemi Alabi is the author of Against Heaven, winner of the Academy of American Poets First Book Award, and coeditor of The Echoing Ida Collection. Their work has been published in Poetry, The Atlantic, The BreakBeat Poets Vol. 2, Best New Poets 2019, and elsewhere. The recipient of the 2020 Beacon Street Prize, Alabi has received support from MacDowell, Tin House, and Pink Door. Born on a Sunday in July, they live in Chicago, IL.

Benji Hart is a Chicago-based author, artist, and educator whose work centers Black radicalism, queer liberation, and prison abolition. Their words have appeared in numerous anthologies, and been published at Time, Teen Vogue, The Advocate, The Funambulist, and elsewhere. Their performances have been featured at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago); Den Frie, Copenhagen; Museo del Chopo, Mexico City; and the Amsterdam University of the Arts. They have been a fellow with the Rauschenberg Foundation, MacDowell, and the Arcus Center.

blake nemec is a writer, teacher, sound recordist, and health care worker, based in Chicago. He is the author of Sharing Plastic, and work supporting abolition, decriminalization of unprotected bodies, and musicalities of conversation. Hir work appears in situations such as Janus Head, &NOW, Entitle; Undisciplined Environments, EOAGH, JUPITER 88, SpokenWeb, Red Rover Reading Series, Captive GendersTrans Embodiment and the Prison Industrial Complex, and the National Queer Arts Festival.He is a Lambda and SFAI fellow and available to facilitate somatics-based writing workshops.

In-Person Attendance:

All guests over the age of two must wear a mask inside the Poetry Foundation building. Guests over the age of five must show proof of vaccination and booster up to the level to which they are eligible for their age group. Guests over the age of 18 must show ID alongside their proof of vaccination. If you cannot meet these requirements, you will not be granted entry to the event. Please note that some performers may choose to perform without a mask. Guests are encouraged to register in advance.

Livestream Attendance:

The livestream link will be shared with registered guests on the day of the event. In order to receive the livestream details, please register in advance here.

Poetry Foundation’s events are completely free of charge and open to the public. This event will include CART captioning and ASL interpretation. For more information about accessibility at the Poetry Foundation, please visit our Accessibility Guide.