In-Person: Tender Headed by Olatunde Osinaike

Tue Dec 05 2023 at 07:00 pm to 08:30 pm

Women & Children First | Chicago

Women & Children First
Publisher/HostWomen & Children First
In-Person: Tender Headed by Olatunde Osinaike Join us for a poetry reading celebrating Tender Headed by Olatunde Osinaike with Kemi Alabi, I.S. Jones & Jameka Williams
About this Event

Please join us for an in-person event to celebrate the poetry collection Tender Headed by Olatunde Osinaike! For this event, he will read with Kemi Alabi, I.S. Jones, and Jameka Williams.

Please note: Pre-registration for this event is required. By pre-registering, you are verifying that you are fully vaccinated and will wear a mask throughout the entirety of the event.


THE IRONY OF TRANSFORMATION often is that we mistake it to have occurred long before it does. Tender Headed takes its time in asserting the realization that growth remains ever ahead of you. Examining the themes of Black identity, accountability, and narration, we encounter a series of revealing snapshots into the role language plays in chiseling possibility and its rigid command of depiction. Olatunde Osinaike's startling debut sorts through the many-minded masks behind Black masculinity. At its center lies an inquiry about the puzzling nature of relationship, how ceaseless wonder can be in its challenge of a truth. In the name of music and self-identity, the speaker weaves their way through fault and how it amends Black life in America.

This is demonstrated best in how the demanding, yet vulnerable tone for the collection is set in "Men Like Me," its restless opening poem. Here, we find the speaker reciting a chronicle of generational neglect from men that became him also. Earnest and sharp, there is a beauty in seeing a poet not shy away from both the melancholy and resolve of rescripting their path while cherishing their steps and missteps along the way. This collection is a panel aching of fathers, sons, uncles, grandfathers, all of whom would do well to join in and confront shared privileges that are typically curtailed or altogether avoided in conversation. Tender Headed entrusts the heart to be a compass, insisting on a journey unto itself and a melodic detour toward tenderness precise with its own footing.


Originally from the West Side of Chicago, Olatunde Osinaike is a Nigerian American poet and software developer. He is the author of Tender Headed, selected by Camille Rankine for the 2022 National Poetry Series. He is the winner of the 2019 Lucille Clifton Poetry Prize, a 2019 Frontier Poetry Industry Prize, and honorable mention for the 2019 Ploughshares Emerging Writer’s Award in Poetry. His work has appeared in Best New Poets, New Poetry from the Midwest, Kweli Journal, Wildness, Southeast Review, and elsewhere. He lives in Atlanta.

Kemi Alabi is the author of Against Heaven (Graywolf Press, 2022), selected by Claudia Rankine as winner of the Academy of American Poets First Book Award. The collection was a Kate Tufts Discovery Award finalist, Chicago Review of Books Award winner, and one of New York Public Library’s Best Books of 2022. Alabi’s poems appear in The Atlantic, The Nation, Poetry, Boston Review and Best New Poets. As Head of Creativity & Impact of the reproductive justice organization Forward Together, Alabi builds cultural power with organizers and artists. They’re co-editor of The Echoing Ida Collection (Feminist Press, 2021) and a Periplus Collective mentor. Born in Wisconsin on a Sunday in July, they now live in Chicago, IL.

I.S. Jones is an American / Nigerian poet and essayist. She is a Graduate Fellow with The Watering Hole and holds fellowships from Callaloo, BOAAT Writer’s Retreat, and Brooklyn Poets. Her works have appeared or are forthcoming in Guernica, Washington Square Review, LA Review of Books, The Rumpus and elsewhere. For the last three years, she served the Director of the Watershed Reading Series with Art + Literature Laboratory. She is currently an instructor with Brooklyn Poets and is the 2023 Bread Loaf- Rona Jaffe Scholar. Her chapbook Spells of My Name (2021) is out with Newfound.

Hailing from Chester, PA, Jameka Williams holds a MFA in poetry from Northwestern University. Her poetry has been published in Prelude Magazine, Gulf Coast, Gigantic Sequins, Muzzle Magazine, Yemassee Journal, Tupelo Quarterly, and elsewhere. A Pushcart Prize nominee, she is a Best New Poets 2020 finalist, published annually by the University of Virginia, and a featured reader on POETRY Foundation’s Open Door Reading Series. American Sex Tape™, her first collection, is the University of Wisconsin Press selection for the 2022 Brittingham Prize winner. She resides in Chicago, IL.

Accessibility: This event will be at the bookstore, which is a wheelchair accessible space on the ground floor. We have an ADA bathroom, adjustable lighting, and reserved parking in the lot behind the store. Face masks are required. Seating is on a first-come, first-serve basis. For ASL Interpretation, reserved seating, or other access requests, please email [email protected].

Event Venue

Women & Children First, 5233 North Clark Street, Chicago, United States


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