About the Author:
Akilah Oliver (1961-2011) 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/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), a(A)ugust (Yo-Yo Labs), and The Putterer’s Notebook (Belladonna, 2007).
Born and raised in Los Angeles, she has 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 has received grants from the California Arts Council, The Flintridge Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation. Oliver has been on the faculty of the University of Colorado, Boulder, Department of Writing and Poetics at Naropa University, Long Island University (as the Visiting Distinguished Author, MFA Creative Writing Program), and LaGuardia Community College. At the time of her death in 2011, she was a professor at Pratt Art Institute in Brooklyn, NY in the Humanities and Media Studies Department and a PhD candidate at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland.
Recent reviews and discussions of Oliver’s work include:
Interview with Susie DeFord for BOMB: AKILAH OLIVER: GOOD GRIEF, BOMBBlog http://bombsite.powweb.com/?p=3872
The Academy of American Poets: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/20612
The Feminist Review: http://feministreview.blogspot.com/2009/05/toast-in-house-of-friends.html