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Kemi Alabi

Born in Wisconsin in 1990, Kemi Alabi earned their BA in philosophy and political science from Boston University.

Their first full-length poetry collection, Against Heaven (Graywolf Press, 2022), was selected by Claudia Rankine to receive the 2021 Academy of American Poets First Book Award.

About Alabi’s prize-winning collection, Rankine writes,

Against Heaven activates multiple lexicons, seeking to construct the immensity of black queer subjectivity with guile and formal virtuosity. At once sonic and disruptive, these poems pull together everything in a world where nothing is sacred. In this energetic and brilliant debut, the thrust of the lyric dislodges all that is stuck and stagnant, creating new possibilities for utterance.

The coeditor of The Echoing Ida Collection (Feminist Press, 2021), Alabi organizes narrative power campaigns and projects, most recently as cultural strategy director of Forward Together. They live in Chicago.

Kemi Alabi
Photo credit: Ally Almore