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jaamil olawale kosoko. (Photo by Freddy Koh)

Theatrical Mustang: Poetry and Perception With jaamil olawale kosoko

This month Woodzick talks to the multi-hyphenate, multi-spirited Nigerian American poet and performer about their new book ‘Black Body Amnesia.’

American Theatre is proud to be the venue for Theatrical Mustang, an independently produced podcast from actor-writer-activist Woodzick. Each month they’ll bring listeners interviews with unbridled talent and cultural trailblazers from across the country.

This month Woodzick interviews the multi-hyphenate and multi-spirited jaamil olawale kosoko, a Nigerian American author, performance artist, and curator of Yoruba and Natchez descent originally from Detroit, Mich., whose book Black Body Amnesia: Poems and Other Speech Acts was released earlier this spring. Kosoko—a 2022 MacDowell Fellow, 2020 Pew Fellow in the Arts, 2019 NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellow in Choreography, 2017-19 Princeton Arts Fellow, 2019 Red Bull Writing Fellow, 2018 NEFA NDP Production Grant recipient, 2017 MAP Fund recipient, and 2017 Cave Canem Poetry Fellow—has a creative practice that draws from Black study and queer theories of the body, weaving together visual performance, lecture, ritual, and spiritual practice.

Their live art works Chameleon (The Living Installments) premiered virtually in April 2020. Séancers (2017) and the Bessie-nominated #negrophobia (2015) have toured internationally, appearing in major festivals including. Kosoko also lectures regularly at Princeton University, Stockholm University of the Arts, and Master Exerce ICI-CCN in Montpellier, France. In fall 2020, they were appointed the 3rd annual Alma Hawkins Visiting Chair in the Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance at UCLA.

Blending poetry and memoir, conversation and performance theory, their collection Black Body Amnesia is a personal archive of visual and verbal offerings, inspired by Audre Lorde’s concept of biomythography. Developed alongside their ongoing, multimedia live art project, American Chameleon, and elaborating on the artist’s unique practice of Socio-Choreological Mapping as a means to explore queer theories of the body and its “hydraulics of grief,” this book offers critical-creative frames to consider the fluid identities and life worlds embedded inside contemporary Black America.

You can also listen to the episode here.

The Theatrical Mustang podcast is co-produced and engineered by Ray Kathryn Morgen (they/them) and edited by CJ Higgins (they/them). Music by The Morgens using Citizen DJ Project, Library of Congress, National Jukebox.

This podcast is dedicated to the memory of Barton Cole, who coined the phrase “Theatrical Mustang.”

You can listen to episodes 1-138 of the Theatrical Mustang Podcast by visiting https://theatricalmustang.podbean.com. Email the podcast at theatricalmustang@gmail.com or send a tweet to @TheatricalM.

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