The Wickedest

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Pub Date Jan 21 2025 | Archive Date Feb 21 2025

Description

"Atmospheric and intoxicating, lyrical and inviting, The Wickedest is a heady night in the dance, and Caleb Femi is the life of the literary party." —Candice Carty-Williams, author of Queenie

“Caleb Femi is a gift to us all from the storytelling gods. He is a poet of truth and rage, heartbreak and joy.” —Max Porter, author of Shy

An immersive epic taking place over one night at an underground London house party, conjured by a multi-hyphenate sensation.

Welcome to the Wickedest, the longest running house party in the South London shoob scene, always held at an undisclosed inner-city spot. You better hope you have the address: this is for
locals only.

Sweaty and cinematic, pulsing with rhythm and heat, every moment here—from one-on-one intimacies to the swell of the party’s collective roar—is refracted in Caleb Femi’s writing. Ingeniously blending conversations, text messages, sonnets, vignettes, monologues, photos, and lyrics, The Wickedest is a modern epic, told as a minute-by-minute chronicle of an unforgettable night out.

Femi, a multi-hyphenate sensation and the author of Poor, which was called “a landmark debut for British poetry” by The Guardian, is a generational storyteller and scene setter. But The Wickedest does more than tell the story of one party; Femi uses the experience of nightlife to document the broader contexts surrounding the shoobs—the marginalization of low-income communities of color, the red tape that bars those on the edges from already shrinking communal space. Still, the party goes on. The Wickedest is a respite and a reckoning, a community of desire, care, and resistance that carries on long past the night’s end.

"Atmospheric and intoxicating, lyrical and inviting, The Wickedest is a heady night in the dance, and Caleb Femi is the life of the literary party." —Candice Carty-Williams, author of Queenie

“Caleb...


A Note From the Publisher

Caleb Femi is a writer, director, and photographer. He is the author of the poetry collection Poor, which won the 2021 Forward Prize, was short-listed for the Rathbones Folio Prize, and was named a best book of 2020 by many publications, including The Guardian, Financial Times, The Observer, and the BBC. Femi has also directed TV episodes for HBO, the BBC, and Netflix, as well as commercials, high-fashion films, and runway shows for brands such as Louis Vuitton, TikTok, Bottega Veneta, and Dior. From 2016 to 2018 he served as Young People’s Laureate for London, where he lives.

Caleb Femi is a writer, director, and photographer. He is the author of the poetry collection Poor, which won the 2021 Forward Prize, was short-listed for the Rathbones Folio Prize, and was named a...


Advance Praise

"Wholly immersive, The Wickedest crystalizes and forever elevates bashment in this pulsing, visceral fever dream. Femi’s urgent, striking lyricism and images call for us to shake loose jadedness, to recapture what it means to be alive with one another. A near-holy experience, The Wickedest should be read, reread, and studied." —Jonathan Escoffery, author of If I Survive You

"Atmospheric and intoxicating, lyrical and inviting, The Wickedest is a heady night in the dance, and Caleb Femi is the life of the literary party." —Candice Carty-Williams, author of Queenie

"A riveting collection, bottled in a time capsule of nostalgia, and lived experience. These poems are as tender, as they are a vibe. A head nod to communities meeting in ritual. The Wickedest honors the world within a world. The enjoyment in language, and complexities in how gatherings can unfold." —Yomi Sode, author of Manorisms

"A mellifluously marvellous journey towards joy, The Wickedest pulses with Rhythm and Poetry at its most penetrating and picturesque. Caleb has constructed a jewel of a jam; glimmering, sweaty, sensual, unforgettable." —Inua Ellams, author of The Half-God of Rainfall

"The Wickedest by the young British Nigerian poet-filmmaker Caleb Femi is a mesmerizing journey through the different moments of one night’s revelry. A heady mix of the formal and urbane, the sacred and mundane, the collection keeps you in suspense, making you question whether you’re counting down to something or have left something significant behind. The time signatures dance unpredictably, heightening the anticipation and intrigue. The vivid pictures punctuating the book lend it a cinematic scope, immersing you in a unique cultural experience. The Wickedest is a hypnotic, experiential happening of a book—essential reading for all." —Roger Robinson, T. S. Eliot Prize-winning author of A Portable Paradise

"In The Wickedest, Caleb Femi renders thrillingly tangible a world of moments in which the relationship between the DJ the riddim and the dancer is a kind of sacrament, a form of collective healing in the face of life's manifold threats to black life." —Kayo Chingonyi, author of A Blood Condition

"From its first word this is poetry that moves and is felt in the body; the poem taken from the page to the dance floor of the club. 'I’ve been eating sound since ice-cream van melodies,' writes Femi. Those sounds, that movement, fill this collection." —Andrew McMillan, author of Pity

"Immersive, rapturous writing that truly transports. The Wickedest is a joyous, lyrical read that I won't soon forget, and Caleb Femi, an exceptionally talented poet." —Yomi Adegoke, author of The List

"Wholly immersive, The Wickedest crystalizes and forever elevates bashment in this pulsing, visceral fever dream. Femi’s urgent, striking lyricism and images call for us to shake loose jadedness, to...


Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9780374616618
PRICE $18.00 (USD)
PAGES 96

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