Black Body Amnesia: Poems and Other Speech Acts

Jaamil Olawale Kosoko

Jaamil Olawale Kosoko. Photo by Ryan Collerd. Courtesy of the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.

Winter 2021
Document Series #9
Forthcoming

About the publication

Blending poetry and memoir, conversation and performance theory, Black Body Amnesia: Poems and Other Speech Acts enlivens a personal archive of visual and verbal offerings written and organized by poet, performance artist, educator, and curator Jaamil Olawale Kosoko. Inspired by Audre Lorde’s concept of biomythography, Kosoko mixes personal history, biography, and mythology to tell a complex narrative rooted within a queer, Black, self-defined, and feminist imagination. 
 
This collection of intertextual performance acts captures the ephemeral data often lost or edited out of Kosoko’s live performances. Developed out his ongoing, multi-media live art project, American Chameleon, and elaborating on the artist’s unique practice of Socio-Choreological Mapping as a means to explore queer theories of the body and its "hydraulics of grief," this book offers critical-creative frames to consider the fluid identities and life-worlds embedded inside contemporary Black America. 
 
With contributions by Sara Jane Bailes, mayfield brooks, Brenda Dixon Gottschild, Ashley Ferro-Murray, Nadine George-Graves, Nile Harris, Ima Iduozee, Bill T. Jones, Jennifer Kidwell, Malkia Okech, Ada M. Patterson, Tracy K. Smith, Lisa Jarett, and Jillian Steinhauer. 

About the author

Jaamil Olawale Kosoko is a Nigerian American performance artist, poet, and curator originally from Detroit, MI. His creative practice draws from Black study and queer theories of the body, weaving together visual performance, lecture, ritual, and spiritual practice. Recent awards include: 2020 Pew Fellowship, 2020-21 Resident Artist at the Wexner Center for the Arts, 2019 NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship in Choreography, 2019 NPN Development Fund Award, 2019-21 Movement Research Artist in Residence, 2018-20 Live Feed Artist at New York Live Arts, 2017-19 Princeton Arts Fellow, 2019 Red Bull Writing Fellow, 2017 MAP Fund recipient, and a 2017 Cave Canem Poetry Fellow. His works have toured internationally to South Africa, Europe, Canada, and throughout the US appearing in festivals and venues such as The Centre for the Less Good Idea (Johannesburg), Fusebox Festival (Austin), PICA | Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, Tanz im August (Berlin), Moving in November (Finland), Within Practice (Sweden), TakeMeSomewhere (UK), Brighton Festival (UK), Oslo Teaterfestival (Norway), and Zürich MOVES! (Switzerland) among others. He is the author of two chapbooks: Animal in Cyberspace and Notes on An Urban Killfloor. His poems and essays have been included in The American Poetry Review, The Dunes Review, The Broad Street Review, among others. Season 1 of his interview-based podcast, American Chameleon can be found on all podcast platforms. In Fall 2020, he was the Alma Hawkins Visiting Chair in the World Arts and Cultures Department at UCLA and is currently a Lecturer in the Arts at Princeton University.

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