The Kennedy Center

Gbenga Adesina


Gbenga Adesina is a Nigerian poet and essayist. His many subjects include memory, grief, violence, joy, complex joy, the minutiae of love and of home, the sea as archive and as history, migration, and the intimacy and violence of journeys. Matthew Zapruder, poetry editor of the New York Times, selected Adesina’s poem “How to Paint A Girl” for its “empathy and insight into the suffering of another.”
Adesina has received fellowships and scholarships from Poets House, New York; the Norman Mailer Center, Newtown, PA; the Fine Arts Work Center, Provincetown, MA; the Open Society Foundation on Gorée Island, Senegal; Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop at Oxford; and New York University. He was a joint winner of the 2016 Brunel International African Poetry Prize and the 2019 Palette Poetry Spotlight Award. He is currently the Olive B. O’Connor Fellow at Colgate University, where he teaches a poetry class called “Song of the Human.”

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