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Obadike , Mendi

Mendi Lewis Obadike

Years: 2000, 2001, 2002


Mendi Lewis Obadike makes literature, art, and music. She is the author of Armor and Flesh (2004), which won the Naomi Long Madgett Prize from Lotus Press. With her husband Keith Obadike, she composed The Sour Thunder, an Internet Opera and curated Crosstalk: American Speech Music (both from Bridge Records, 2004 & 2008). Their conceptual media artworks have been exhibited at the Whitney Museum, the New Museum, and Electronic Arts Intermix and the New York African Film Festival, among other institutions. Their opera-masquerade Four Electric Ghosts debuted at The Kitchen in May 2009. Mendi earned a BA in English from Spelman College and a PhD in literature from Duke University and has taught at a variety of schools, including Princeton, SVA, and Wesleyan. Mendi is an Assistant Professor in Humanities and Media Studies at Pratt Institute.



Not knowing whatto do with my hands,I write to my dead friend.In truth, I never earnedthe right to call her friend.I am just a wet faceon the edge of her travels.Maybe you think I’llshow what I put down,but I’ve heaved those wordsjust for her. As shehas no address, I have toread them until waterspills from me, and mysalt discovers its source,and a hole opens upin the dead tree, andthe tree curls to the gape,and the souls of allthe present things turnto bow to the absenceamong them, a souvenirof our coming years, aportal to our dead.