Antioppression Poetics: an Instrument of Liberation

Antioppression Poetics: an Instrument of Liberation

Tuesday Feb 13, 2024
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

28 Adams Street (Corner of Adams & Water Street across from the Archway)
Brooklyn , NY 11201

Tickets Here

Liberation is not only the antonym of oppression, it is its antidote. Poets have often used their medium to advance the discourse of liberation and the practice of it in their interior lives and external communities; and, as June Jordan wrote, “to face [their] own culpability…in the continuation of injustice and powerful intolerance.” In the difficult terrain of geopolitics, four Cave Canem Fellows reiterate their position in the Black literary tradition of social justice and commit to free speech as a tenet artistic practice.

Featuring readings by Marwa Helal, Raymond Antrobus, makalani bandele, and Aricka Foreman.

Each poet read a selection of their own work and uplift an ancestral poem or text. This will be followed by a discussion. The event will end with an audience Q&A session.

This event is put on by Cave Canem, a nonprofit organization, committed to cultivating the artistic and professional growth of Black poets. Founded by artists for artists, Cave Canem fosters community across the diaspora to enrich the field by facilitating a nurturing space in which to learn, experiment, create, and present. Cave Canem develops audiences for Black voices that have worked and are working in the craft of poetry.


Marwa Helal is a poet and journalist. She is the author of Ante body (Nightboat Books, 2022), which was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, Invasive species (Nightboat Books, 2019), the chapbook I AM MADE TO LEAVE I AM MADE TO RETURN (No Dear, 2017) and a Belladonna chaplet (2021). She has been awarded fellowships from the Whiting Foundation, New York Foundation of the Arts, Jerome Foundation, Poets House, and Cave Canem, among others.

Helal is the winner of BOMB Magazine’s Biennial 2016 Poetry Contest, selected by Bhanu Kapil. Her work has appeared in numerous publications including The Paris Review, POETRY Magazine, Boston Review, and Best American Experimental Writing 2018. She has presented her work at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the Studio Museum in Harlem, Brooklyn Museum and the Guggenheim Museum.

Born in Al Mansurah, Egypt, she currently lives in the United States. She received her MFA in creative nonfiction from The New School and her BA in journalism and international studies from Ohio Wesleyan University.


Raymond Antrobus was born in London, Hackney to an English mother and Jamaican father. He is the author of To Sweeten Bitter (2017, Out-Spoken Press), The Perseverance (2018, Penned In The Margins / Tin House) All The Names Given (2021, Picador / Tin House) and the children’s picture book Can Bears Ski? (2020, Walkers Books) In 2019 he became the first ever poet to be awarded the Rathbone Folio Prize for best work of literature in any genre. Other accolades include the Ted Hughes award, PBS Winter Choice, A Sunday Times Young Writer of the year award and The Guardian Poetry Book Of The Year 2018, as well as being shortlisted for the T.S Eliot Prize, Griffin Prize and Forward Prize. In 2018 he was awarded The Geoffrey Dearmer Prize, (Judged by Ocean Vuong), for his poem Sound Machine. His poems were added to the UK’s GCSE syllabus in 2022.


makalani bandele is the author of three poetry collections hellfightin’ (Willow Books`, 2011), under the aegis of a winged mind (Autumn House Press, 2020), winner of the 2019 Autumn House Press Poetry Prize, and his latest manuscript, (jopappy and the sentence-makers are) eponymous as funk, won Futurepoem’s 2022 Other Futures Award and will be published in Fall 2024. This collection is made up entirely of poems written in the form bandele invented called ‘the unit’. Known for his experimental poetics, he is the winner of the 2023 Miracle Monocle Innovative Writing Award, and the 2021 First Prize in Experimental Poetry Contest from the Connecticut Poetry Society.  He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Cave Canem Foundation, the Kentucky Arts Council, Millay Colony, Obsidian Foundation, and Vermont Studio Center. bandele’s work has been published in several anthologies and widely in both print and online literary journals. His poems, visual art, and essays can be found in or are forthcoming in Washington Square Review, 32 poems, Prairie Schooner, DIAGRAM, Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day, to name a few. He is a member of the Affrilachian Poets.


Aricka is an American poet and interdisciplinary writer from Detroit MI. Author of the chapbook Dream with a Glass Chamber, and Salt Body Shimmer (YesYes Books), she has earned fellowships from Cave Canem, Callaloo, and the Millay Colony for the Arts. She serves on the Board of Directors for The Offing, and spends her time in Chicago, IL engaging poetry with photography & video.