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Against Heaven: Kemi Alabi in conversation with Phillip B. Williams

Event date: 
Saturday, April 9, 2022 - 7:30pm to 8:30pm

This event takes place on crowdcast, Charis' virtual event platform. Register here.

Charis welcomes Kemi Alabi in conversation with Phillip B. Williams for a celebration of Against Heaven: Poems. 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.

Kemi Alabi’s work has been published in PoetryThe BreakBeat Poets Vol. 2Best New Poets 2019, and elsewhere, and they are the recipient of the 2020 Beacon Street Prize. Alabi is a co-editor of The Echoing Ida Collection and lives in Chicago.

Phillip B. Williams is the author of Mutiny and Thief in the Interior, which was the winner of the 2017 Kate Tufts Discovery Award and a 2017 Lambda Literary award. He is also the author of the chapbooks Bruised Gospels and Burn. Williams’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in Boston Review, Callaloo, Kenyon Review, The New Republic, The New Yorker, and others. He is the recipient of a 2020 creative writing grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, a 2017 Whiting Award, and a 2013 Ruth Lilly Fellowship. He serves as a faculty member at Bennington College and Randolph College low-res MFA.

This event is free and open to all people, especially to those who have no income or low income right now, but we encourage and appreciate a solidarity donation in support of the work of Charis Circle, our programming non-profit. Charis Circle's mission is to foster sustainable feminist communities, work for social justice, and encourage the expression of diverse and marginalized voices. https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/CharisCircle?code=chariscirclepage

We will be archiving this event and adding closed captioning as soon as possible after airing so that it will be accessible to deaf and HOH people. If you have other accessibility needs or if you are someone who has skills in making digital events more accessible please don't hesitate to reach out to info@chariscircle.org. We are actively learning the best practices for this technology and we welcome your feedback as we begin this new way of connecting across distances.

By attending our virtual event you agree to our Code of Conduct: Our event seeks to provide a harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, ethnicity, religion (or lack thereof), class, or technology choices. We do not tolerate harassment in any form. Sexual language and imagery are not appropriate. Anyone violating these rules will be expelled from this event and all future events at the discretion of the organizers. Please report all harassment to info@chariscircle.org immediately.

Event address: 
CROWDCAST
Against Heaven: Poems Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781644450826
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Graywolf Press - April 5th, 2022

Winner of the Academy of American Poets First Book Award, selected by Claudia Rankine.


The Breakbeat Poets Vol. 2: Black Girl Magic Cover Image
By Jamila Woods (Editor), Mahogany L. Browne (Editor), Idrissa Simmonds (Editor)
$19.95
ISBN: 9781608468577
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Haymarket Books - April 17th, 2018

" The BreakBeat Poets is] one of the most diverse and important poetry anthologies of the last 25 years."--Latino Rebels


The Echoing Ida Collection Cover Image
By Cynthia R. Greenlee (Editor), Kemi Alabi (Editor), Janna A. Zinzi (Editor)
$24.95
ISBN: 9781558612839
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Feminist Press - January 12th, 2021

Rooted in reproductive justice, Echoing Ida harnesses the power of media for social justice--amplifying the struggles and successes of contemporary freedom movements in the US.


Mutiny (Penguin Poets) Cover Image
$20.00
ISBN: 9780143136934
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Books - September 7th, 2021

Named one of the Best Books of 2021 by The Boston Globe and Lit Hub
Finalist for the PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry 
Longlisted for the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award
Finalist for Publishing Triangle’s Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry


Event Summary: 
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.