Out of respect for his publishers Chris Abani told us here in the kinté space that his printed poetry should not be reproduced (here in the kinté space) without permission. We went through one publisher’s automated, Web-based permissions process months ago and received no response. Chris Abani’s own site, chrisabani.com, vouches for his sincerity because this site has no “poetry section” deliberately designed for reading on the web, rather we are offered book covers to entice us to pay our respects—and I can assure you that Chris Abani is worth the price of admission.

But for the others out there who really, really need to sample Abani’s work before paying the price, we have compiled streaming audio clips, painstakingly assembled from YouTube.com (see credits below). Now (until further notice) you can listen to Chris Abani present his arresting work—this way is even more captivating and should be a more powerful way draw you into his rich literary world.


Words and Flow by
Chris Abani

Sound Post-Production by
Bryan Wilhite

“Ode to Joy” and “Jacob’s Ladder” from the collection Kalakuta Republic at the 2008 Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival (dominican8564u)

“Break a Leg” and “Stabat Mater” from the film Voices in Wartime (voicesinwartime)

Reading of “Libation” by Lucille Clifton at his 2008 TED talk (TEDtalksDirector)

Reading of “Facing It” by Yusef Komunyakaa at the 2008 Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival (dominican8564u)