February 24th, 2011

R.I.P. Akilah Oliver

Akilah Oliver
(1961 – 2011)

It’s a tragic day for the progression of poetry, the written and spoken word, consciousness. . . . We have just heard about the loss of our friend and contributor Akilah Oliver. May your spirit continue to rage, rage against the dying of light, Akilah.

Akilah is the author of the recently published A Toast In the House of Friends. She was born in 1961 in L.A. In the 1990’s she founded and performed with the feminist performance collective Sacred Naked Nature Girls. For several years, Akilah lived and raised her son Oluchi McDonald (1982-2003) in Boulder, Colorado where she was a teacher at Naropa University’s Jack Kerouac  School of Disembodied Poetics.  Recently, in New York City, Akilah taught poetry and writing at Eugene Lang College, The New School, Pratt Insitute and The Poetry Project.  She was a PhD candidate at The European Graduate School and a member of the Belladonna Collaborative.

For more info, check out In Memory of Akilah Oliver by Rachel Levitsky from Coffee House Press and The Poetry Project Blog.

Nate Jordon

6 Responses to “R.I.P. Akilah Oliver”

  1. Nick Morris says:

    Akilah was an inspiration. Even though I never had the opportunity to take one of her classes, she was always friendly, and I had nothing but the upmost respect for her and her work. She will truly be missed. May her spirit find rest.

  2. Rob says:

    One of the best.

  3. Diane Klammer says:

    Akilah taught us some powerful lessons about grief in her book, A Toast in the House of Friends. We will have to hold those lessons close to us now. She was a supportive friend and mentor, telling me to put my writing out there and allow it to do what it will. This is a shock and a loss.

  4. carolyn z says:

    This is such a shock, so sad, I know everybody dies so it’s silly to say “it’s not fair”, but I can’t help thinking, it’s not fair, she was so good, such a teacher, such a writer such an inspiration. The world has a serious hole in it, and that hole is going to be hard to fill. We’ve got to take her example and go forward with it. We love you, Akilah. Thank you for everything.

  5. Scott Forman says:

    Akilah always made me look at things from a different perspective, outside of my own limited perceptions and beliefs – coming from such diverse, opposite, and sometimes opposing backgrounds and experiences, it was like we could tell each other to go to hell, feel good about it, and I think each of planned on enjoying the trip. She was never condemning or judgmental, but really made me think about my own judgments and condemnations, my own inner prejudices and even fears, and I am a better person and writer because of her.

    Happy Trails!

  6. Marcus says:

    Akilah was a no bullshit/take no shit human being, rare in this world, even rarer in the climb to “get published”. her She poems have inspired me for two decades, how many times can you say that about any poet?
    Adios, babe, I’ll see ya on the battle-lines in hell….