A peek inside Jaamil Olawale Kosoko’s head, 2010 Interview with Joyce SoHo's J. Douglass

The poem Spirits of the Dead was the first piece of written research I’d done forAn Expectation of Violence. It investigates a lineage of women who haunt me. And not in the way you may think. There are many ways to be haunted by the dead. Some ways manifest creatively. The more I delve into the process and content of this work, I realize it’s a mini-biography of my mother’s life and death, as well as a reinterpreting of the multitude of violences that plagued her body and mind. I also realize that this work has only begun to scratch the surface of where I’m beginning to venture in my dance making. I’ve become deeply fascinated with ‘performance as personal memoir.’

But this idea is nothing new for me. In my writing life as a poet and man of letters, I’ve been told repeatedly that I’m a poet obsessed with memory. My good friend, poet Remica L. Bingham, tells me I’m “a seer and protector of memory.” She is right. So as I write this, it becomes clear to me that this work that I’m premiering this week at Joyce SoHo is an attempt at grabbing hold of a few clear memories from my life and setting them in motion.

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