Adebe DeRango-Adem is a writer whose words travel between Toronto, Philadelphia, and New York City. She completed her MA in English at York University, where she also served as Assistant Editor for the arts and literary journal, Existere, and is currently an English Literature Ph.D. candidate at the University of Pennsylvania.
Her work has been published in various North American sources, such as The Claremont Review, Room Magazine, CV2, the Toronto Star and Cosmonauts Avenue. She won the Toronto Poetry Competition in 2005 to become Toronto’s first Junior Poet Laureate. She is the author of a chapbook of poems, Sea Change (Burning Effigy Press, 2007) and in 2008, attended the summer writing program at Naropa University, where she mentored with Anne Waldman and Amiri Baraka at The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics. To her delight, and during her tenure at Naropa, she produced a significant body of work; several poems, which made it into her most recent collection.
Her debut poetry collection, Ex Nihilo, was one of ten manuscripts chosen in honour of Frontenac House’s Dektet 2010 competition, using a blind selection process by a jury of leading Canadian writers: bill bissett, George Elliott Clarke, and Alice Major. Ex Nihilo is a collection attuned to the creative process as a phenomenon of the will to move on (ex-) from nihilistic attitudes (nihilo), and in so doing (according to its original Latin etymology) create “something out of nothing.” Charged with the political, Ex Nihilo is a poetic text that considers how art can respond to the annihilation of particular identities struggling to exist in an impossibly post-racial world, framed against the possibility that art and identity are creations ex nihilo whose immateriality allow us to engage in endless discursive creativity, as we travel and endlessly (re)create ourselves.
Adebe DeRango-Adem is also the editor, with Andrea Thompson, of Other Tongues: Mixed-Race Women Speak Out (Inanna Publications, 2010), an anthology of poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, spoken word texts, as well as black and white artwork and photography that explores the question of how mixed-race women in North America identify in the twenty-first century. Contributions engage, document, and/or explore the experiences of being mixed-race, by placing interraciality as the center, rather than periphery, of analysis. Please read more about the anthology here.
DeRango-Adem was recently called a young writer to watch in 2016 by Parliamentary Poet Laureate George Elliott Clarke and the CBC. Her most recent poetry collection, Terra Incognita (Inanna Publications, 2015), creatively explores various racial discourses and interracial crossings both buried in the grand narratives of history and the everyday experiences of being mixed-race. Poems from the collection were longlisted for the inaugural Cosmonauts Avenue Poetry Prize, as judged by award-winning American poet Claudia Rankine.