(Un)documented Black Poetics: Book Launch & Reading with Immigrant Poets
Former poet-in-residence, Alan Pelaez Lopez, will celebrate their debut book, Intergalactic Travels: poems from a fugitive alien, at the Museum of the African Diaspora. Kemi Bello and Danyeli Rodriguez Del Orbe, both key figures in the immigrant rights movement and the immigrant poetry community will read alongside Alan. Afterward, the poets will share words about what it means to create art and prioritize care for one another in the midst of border violence.
Intergalactic Travels: poems from a fugitive alien is an experimental poetry collection that pushes the boundaries of the undocumented immigrant experience via the poet’s refusal to belong to United Statian society and the refusal of a structured poetics. In fact, the chaotic geographies of the manuscript (collages + photographs + emails) formulate theories of fugitivity that position the transAtlantic slave trade and North American Indigenous dispossession as root causes of the poet’s “illegal entry” as a five-year-old to the U.S. In this refusal of national belonging and form, the book asks for a critical kinship that the law can never account for, and thus, Alan Pelaez Lopez negotiates legal status for new imaginaries of care.
Alan Pelaez Lopez is an AfroIndigenous poet, installation, and adornment artist from Oaxaca, México. They are the author of the art and poetry collection, Intergalactic Travels: poems from a fugitive alien (The Operating System, 2020), and the chapbook, to love and mourn in the age of displacement (Nomadic Press, 2020). Their poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and “Best of the Net,” and appears (or is forthcoming) in Best New Poets, Best American Experimental Writing, POETRY, The Georgia Review, and others. They have received fellowships and/or residencies from Submittable, the Museum of the African Diaspora, VONA/Voices, and UC Berkeley. They live in Oakland, CA. www.alanpelaez.com/
Kemi Bello is a stubborn sometimes-writer and poet living in Oakland, California. She believes in the power of narrative to reclaim and connect, and her writings around the messiness of migration have been published in outlets like The Nation and Autostraddle. Kemi’s poetry performances have taken her to stages at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Galeria de la Raza, Litquake SF, and the University of Illinois, Chicago. www.kemibello.com
Danyeli Rodriguez Del Orbe is a formerly undocumented, Afro-Dominican writer, podcaster, and activist raised in The Bronx, New York. Her work centers themes of immigration, race, and gender. She has been featured on NPR, Bronx Museum of Arts, People En Español, and her work has traveled as far as Aruba’s “Poetry is an Island Festival.” Danyeli has also been the recipient of several social justice fellowships including Immigrant Justice Corps, Vera Fellowship, and NYIC Dream Fellowship, where she researched policy, provided legal services, and organized for immigrant rights. In 2019, she co-founded loose accents, a Latinx immigrant podcast highlighting stories of immigration from the East to the West Coast. She currently resides in South Los Angeles where she provides legal services to low-income immigrant communities. www.danyelirodriguezdelorbe.com
This program will include a wine reception