Ife-Chudeni’s poem “I haven’t had a Sazerac since Indiana” is included in the new collection, Nepantla: An Anthology Dedicated to Queer Poets of Color, published by Nightboat Books on May 1, 2018.
In 2014, Christopher Soto and Lambda Literary Foundation founded the online journal Nepantla, with the mission to nurture, celebrate, and preserve diversity within the queer poetry community, including contributions as diverse in style and form, as the experiences of QTPOC in the United States. Now, Nepantla will appear for the first time in print as a survey of poetry by queer poets of color throughout U.S. history, including literary legends such as Audre Lorde, James Baldwin, June Jordan, Ai, and Pat Parker alongside contemporaries such as Natalie Diaz, Ocean Vuong, Danez Smith, Joshua Jennifer Espinoza, Robin Coste Lewis, and many more.
Thanks to The Rumpus for publishing this thoughtful review of Rummage!
Scott Beal writes, “It is in such blurred borders and exceeded singularities that Oputa’s speakers have learned to live. In the book’s closing poem, Oputa writes of eyes worn “like a veil of mourning, pupils in total eclipse: / black open to black: prayer of equilibrium.” Here the source of the poet’s vision can be veiled, eclipsed, yet remain open—her syntax turns occlusion into aperture. And how can a prayer be of equilibrium? We hear it both as a prayer for equilibrium and as a prayer composed from equilibrium, placing us again between fulfillment and desire, and teaching us, as Oputa does throughout her remarkable debut, to live in multiple directions.”
Rummage has been named a finalist for the 30th annual Lambda Literary Awards!
Lambda Literary is the nation’s oldest and largest literary arts organization advancing LGBTQ literature. The finalists were chosen from nearly 1,000 submissions and over 300 publishers. Submissions came from major mainstream publishers and from independent presses, from both long-established and new LGBTQ publishers, as well as from emerging publish-on-demand technologies. Rummage is one of eight finalists in the category of Lesbian Poetry. The winners will be announced at a gala ceremony on Monday, June 4th in New York City.
Ife-Chudeni Oputa will join the faculty of the Indiana University Writers’ Conference this summer. She will teach a poetry class in the afternoons in Bloomington, Indiana.
About the IU Writers’ Conference: The IUWC is open to writers of all levels. We invite a faculty of prominent writers who are equally skilled and involved teachers, people who have made writing their life’s work. Participants join faculty-led workshops in fiction and poetry, and take classes in fiction, poetry, and various prose narrative styles. For seventy-five years we have prided ourselves on a craft-based writers’ conference, a multidisciplinary approach, and a focus on writing.
Rummage was named one of the Poetry Foundation‘s 2017 Staff Picks! Here’s what Features Editor Jeremy Lybarger had to say:
“In a banner year for poetry, the collection that struck me most is Rummage (Little A), the debut from Cave Canem and Lambda Literary Fellow Ife-Chudeni A. Oputa. These are poems about shame and queer love, about female sexuality and the body. They trace the fine line between eroticism and grief, familiar terrain for anyone who’s ever felt desires that are illicit or unrequited. “Ask me what it’s like to be a world / always in need of rescue,” Oputa writes in ‘The Prophet Wants to Atone,’ and this book is her scarifying, incandescent answer.”
Ife-Chudeni Oputa will appear as a featured reader at the Greenlight Poetry Salon on Wednesday, November 1, 2017, 7:30 p.m., at Greenlight Bookstore in Brooklyn, New York. The event lineup also includes poets sam sax, Nicole Sealey and Emily Skillings. Created and hosted by poet and former Greenlight bookseller Angel Nafis, Greenlight’s Poetry Salon welcomes locally and nationally celebrated poets for an intense and joyful evening of wine, poetry, and performance. Find more information here.
Event address: 632 Flatbush Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217