The Wickedest

By Caleb Femi

‘Atmospheric and intoxicating … The Wickedest is a heady night in the dance’ CANDICE CARTY-WILLIAMS

Caleb Femi returns with a landmark, life-affirming new poetry collection, The Wickedest.

This is a minute-by-minute depiction of a typical night at a legendary monthly house party known as ‘The Wickedest’. Here, we meet a vivid cast of characters, young and old, all surfing a revelry steeped in camaraderie, community, desire and a spirit of jubilant defiance.

A modern epic, The Wickedest explores the institution of shoobs or house parties and their vital role within working-class communities. The poems range from classical English sonnets to experimental forms and are immersively interwoven with photographs, text messages and ephemera. The collection playfully dissembles parties – in space, sound, law and bureaucracy – to document the precarious existence of our nightlife venues.

In Caleb Femi’s inimitable, cinematic style the book builds to a crescendo that is at once euphoric and grief-soaked. The Wickedest calls us to cast our minds to the moments we stood surrounded by our loved ones on a dancefloor, arms outstretched, and freed ourselves from the weight of reality to float.

‘A joyous, lyrical read‘ YOMI ADEGOKE

‘A near-holy experience’ JONATHAN ESCOFFERY

‘This is poetry that moves and is felt in the body’ ANDREW MCMILLAN

Author: Caleb Femi
Format: Hardback
Release Date: 12 Sep 2024
Pages: 96
ISBN: 978-0-00-868824-0
Caleb Femi is a writer, director and photographer, and was featured in the Dazed 100 list of the next generation shaping youth culture. Femi’s award-winning debut poetry collection, Poor, was published in 2020 by Penguin, and won the Forward Prize for best first collection in 2021. It was shortlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize, longlisted for the Jhalak Prize, was selected as a Book of the Year by the New Statesman, Financial Times, Guardian, Observer, Rough Trade and the BBC, and was added to AQA\'s English Literature GCSE syllabus in the UK in 2022. He has 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, Dior, Mulberry and NCS. From 2016 to 2018 he was the Young People’s Laureate for London, working with young people on a city, national and global level.

‘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 People Person -

”'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

”'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

”'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

”'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

'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 -