Berlin Fellowship 2023 — Literature

Kemi Alabi

*1990, Milwaukee, Wisconsin (USA)

Lives in Chicago, Illinois (USA)

Instagram / Twitter: @kemiaalabi


Kemi Alabi is a poet, essayist, and cultural strategist based in Chicago, IL, USA. Alabi is the author of the award-winning debut poetry collection Against Heaven (Graywolf Press, 2022) and co-editor of The Echoing Ida Collection (Feminist Press, 2021). A MacDowell and Civitella Ranieri Fellow, Alabi writes in surrealist and queer Black feminist traditions, harnessing the power of the lyric to transcend the limitations of empire. They are the Head of Creativity and Impact at Forward Together, a US-based reproductive justice organization.


How does repression impact the body? My residency will advance a poetic meditation on the unexplained prevalence of uterine fibroids in Black people. By utilizing surrealist play to tap into the poetic space Fred Moten describes as “between the laws of music and meaning,” I will enter into a poetic dialogue with Audre Lorde’s Berlin archive to explore the relationship between illness, subjugation, and “the transformation of silence into language and action.”