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Poetry. Written for her son, Oluchi McDonald (1982-2003), Oliver's poems incorporate prose, theory, and lyric performance into a powerful testimony of loss and longing. In their journey through the borderlands of sorrow, they grapple with violence, find expression in chants, and, like the graffiti she analyzes, become a place of public and artistic memorial. "If memory is the act of bearing witness," she writes, "then the dream is a friend driving us somewhere." "A TOAST IN THE HOUSE OF FRIENDS brings us back to life via the world of death and dream.... It is an extraordinary gift for everyone, language pushing beyond itself into the aura of holy graffiti in the big night"—Alice Notley.
author audio @ PennSoundinterview by Susie DeFord @ BOMBLOGElizabeth Stannard Gromisch @ Feminist Review"In Aporia" @ Poets.orgAnna Elena Eyre @ Open Letters Monthly
Akilah Oliver was the author of two poetry collections and four chapbooks. Her most recent poetry book, A TOAST IN THE HOUSE OF FRIENDS, (Coffee House Press, 2009) employs prose, theory, and lyric performance frameworks to investigate mourning and retrievability. Her first book, the she said dialogues: flesh memory (Smokeproof Press/Erudite Fangs, 1999), was awarded the PEN Beyond Margins Award. Harryette Mullen states of the she said dialogues, "Akilah Oliver surveys the complex terrain of identity and sexuality with a concise intellectually engaged poetic language." Her chapbooks are A Collection of Objects (Tente Press, 2010), THE PUTTERER'S NOTEBOOK (Belladonna*, 2007), a(A)ugust (Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs, 2006), and An Arriving Guard of Angels: Thusly Coming to Greet (Farfalla Press , 2004). Born and raised in Los Angeles, she had been the artist-in-residence at Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center in Los Angeles, the curator of the Poetry Project's Monday Night Reading Series, and received grants from the California Arts Council, The Flintridge Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation. At the end of her life she lived and taught in Brooklyn.Author City: Brooklyn, NY USA