Virtual Event: Jubi Arriola-Headley
in conversation with ALLISON ADAIR
November 6, 2020
7:00 PM ET
Join our online event (or pre-register) via the link in the event description.
Free - $5 contribution suggested at registration
Harvard Book Store's virtual event series welcomes acclaimed poet JUBI ARRIOLA-HEADLEY for a discussion of his debut poetry collection, original kink. He will be joined in conversation with ALLISON ADAIR, creative writing professor at Boston College and author of the award-winning poetry collection The Clearing.
Contribute to Support Harvard Book Store
While payment is not required, we are suggesting a $3 contribution to support this author series, our staff, and the future of Harvard Book Store—a locally owned, independently run Cambridge institution. In addition, by purchasing a copy of original kink on harvard.com, you support indie bookselling and the writing community during this difficult time.
About original kink
In original kink, Jubi Arriola-Headley explores kink as mythscape of promised pleasure, lush and lustral, kink as Godzilla's desire for softness and the speaker gone "starburst," kink as "the sun-soaked / surface of impossible kick" and "something loose enough / to dance in."
At once soliloquy, praise song, and injunction, original kink divines the brutal offices and beauteous comforts of syntax, street corners, and superheroes as sites for Black and queer (un)becomings. Accompanied by Eve, Isaac Newton, and a cotillion of daddies, Arriola-Headley writes into pleasure's beyond, questioning "What it must be / to presume life / to presume tomorrow." These poems "glutton at spring's source, / ever lovedrunk on / the insistent gush of you," and create a dazzling, multiple "We." These poems enjoin the reader—and themselves—to "Be better / than bitter. Be roiling in joy. Be."
Praise for original kink
“In original kink, Jubi Arriola-Headley speaks with a voice that the old folks back home would say sounds like he has an attitude problem: ‘Fix/your face to smile like your teeth/wasn’t butter yellow.’ These poems strut about and roll their necks. There are boasts and insult. But even when this book is sorrowful, it is proud: ‘I still want Daddy/to look at me like he does those dogs. Like I could win.’” —Jericho Brown, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Tradition
"This bold debut collection interrogates masculinity, family dynamics and state executions of black bodies with unflinching tenderness and a relentless compulsion to expose tyrannies both self-inflicted and externally imposed. original kink harnesses bruising, vulnerable language with biblical cadence, narrative precision and a musical dexterity to create a poetic of witness, of hymns, striving to demonstrate that 'This is how tyrannies are/ built. Like lullabies.'" —Malika Booker, Cholmondeley Award-winning author of Pepper Seed
"original kink is fixed to trick you with what seems an easy-going syntax. Careful. There’s warmth, sure. Love, yes lord. And even joy. But Jubi Arriola-Headley’s debut doesn’t go easy on religion, desire, power and the intersections where these collide with race, queerness, and gender. Throughout, the poet’s kinkiness is a crafty entanglement of hair texture, knots that upset schemes, and sexuality some demand be cut. Careful. Check: ‘I’m a freak, America, a peeping/Tyrone . . . outside looking in.’ Then the poem sets its feet to throw hands. Arriola-Headley has been watching, America. He has some words for us. Perhaps we should step outside?" —Douglas Kearney, Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Award-winning author of Buck Studies
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