by Akilah Oliver
Part of an ongoing series of historico-political notetaking, this radical and incomparable poet continues to question subjectivity, identity, race, gender, geography, travel and the rest of the wrought contemporary landscape.
Akilah Oliver (1961 – 2011) was born in 1961 in L.A. In the 1990’s she founded and performed with the feminist performance collective Sacred Naked Nature Girls. For several years, from the mid-90’s Akilah lived and raised her son Oluchi McDonald (1982-2003) in Boulder, Colorado where she was a teacher at Naropa University’s Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics. Recently, in New York City, Akilah taught poetry and writing at Eugene Lang College, The New School, Pratt Institute and The Poetry Project. She was a PhD candidate at The European Graduate School and a member of the Belladonna* Collaborative.
Akilah Oliver’s books include A Toast In The House of Friends (Coffee House 2009), the she said dialogues: flesh memory, a book of experimental prose poetry honored by the PEN American Center’s “Open Book” program, and the chapbooks An Arriving Guard of Angels, Thusly Coming to Greet (Farfalla, McMillan & Parrish, 2004), The Putterer’s Notebook (Belladonna 2006), a(A)ugust (Yo-Yo Labs, 2007) and A Collection of Objects (Tente 2010). She read and performed her work throughout the country as a solo artist and with a variety of musicians and collaborators including Tyler Burba, Anne Waldman, and Rasul Siddik. She was a artist in residence at Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center in Los Angeles, and received grants from the California Arts Council, The Flintridge Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation. Among her many other projects, she was writing a book-length theory of lamentation.