Discipline: Literature – poetry

Kemi Alabi

Discipline: Literature – poetry
Region: Chicago, IL
MacDowell fellowships: 2021

Kemi Alabi is the author of Against Heaven (Graywolf Press, 2022), selected by Claudia Rankine for the 2021 Academy of American Poets First Book Award. Their work appears in Poetry, TriQuarterly, The Atlantic, Poem-a-Day, Best New Poets 2019, Redivider as winner of the 2020 Beacon Street Prize, and elsewhere. Alabi is coeditor of The Echoing Ida Collection (Feminist Press, 2021). While at MacDowell, they finalized Against Heaven and began writing toward a manuscript of poems inspired by Black queer interpretations of the tarot.

Portrait by Ally Almore



Kemi Alabi worked in the Mansfield studio.

The Helen Coolidge Mansfield Studio was donated by graduates of the Mansfield War Service Classes for Reconstruction Aides. Helen Mansfield helped found the New York MacDowell Club. The small, shingled frame structure with stone foundation was originally fronted on the west side by a neat white picket fence and gate, a garden, and a stone pathway…

Learn more