Alabi, Kemi

Kemi Alabi (c) Ally Almore

Kemi Alabi, born 1990 in Wisconsin/USA, is a poet and cultural activist. They have received several awards for their debut collection, Against Heaven (Graywolf Press 2022), including the Academy of American Poets First Book Award and the Chicago Review’s Books Award. Alabi’s poems also appear in magazines and anthologies, including The Atlantic, The Nation, Poetry, Boston Review, and Best New Poets. Alabi co-edited the Black anthology Echoing Ida Collection (Feminist Press 2021) on reproductive justice and organizes campaigns and projects on narrative power, most recently as director for cultural strategy at the organization Forward Together. They live in Chicago.

Festival Content


You Are Dazzled By Their Murmurations

Kleines Parkett 8/6 € | Tickets


Reading and discussion with Kemi Alabi, Julian Talamantez Brolaski, Kay Gabriel and Eileen Myles

U.S. American poets Kemi Alabi, Julian Talamantez Brolaski, Kay Gabriel and Eileen Myles radically explore the boundaries of poetic language. In seeking to express marginalized perspectives and experiences, they question received wisdom, familiar patterns, common attributions, and powers of representation and interpretation. In their texts, these poets deconstruct existing linguistic material and reassemble it, breaking it down into component parts to expand and transform what language can achieve. Words and phrases are reinvented, the familiar and the archaic are incorporated, and completely new descriptive possibilities are forged. On this evening, the authors will read from their poems and speak about fluid identities, poetry, and re-describing the world.


Alabi, KemiBrolaski, Julian TalamantezMyles, EileenGabriel, Kay

POETRY TALK: Kemi Alabi and Radna Fabias

Ungoverned By The Lie

Clubraum 7/5€ | Tickets


The debut collections of poets Kemi Alabi (born 1990 in Wisconsin) and Radna Fabias (born 1983 in Curaçao) both caused a stir. Each of these works contend with racism, sexism, poverty, and violence. Their work contends with the relationship between Blackness and feminism, finding intimate, at times pixelated images of rebellion, love, and desire.

Alabi, KemiFabias, Radna


Kleines Parkett 8/6 € | Tickets


With Kemi Alabi, Yevgeniy Breyger, Kholoud Charaf, Athena Farrokhzad, Madara Gruntmane, Ramin Mazhar and Ganna Gryniva (music), moderated by Bohdan Tokarskyi

Violence can be silent – but it can also develop its own language. How might we counter violence with another language, one that does not further stigmatize its victims or – in the worst case – re-traumatize them? This evening’s poets will contend with different forms of violence: authoritarian regimes, censorship, war and civil war, forced migration, flight, and expulsion – but also everyday violence, racist police profiling, violence against LGTBQIA* people, femicides, or sexualized violence within the family or community. Poetry can both document and remember violence, but can also initiate therapeutic processes, extending the opportunity for solidarity and healing.


Alabi, KemiBreyger, YevgeniyCharaf, KholoudFarrokhzad, AthenaGruntmane, MadaraMazhar, RaminGryniva, Ganna