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Kazim Ali


poet, novelist, essayist, translator, professor

Kazim Ali

Kazim Ali’s Sukun: New and Selected Poems was published by Wesleyan in the fall of 2023. Ali’s work encompasses multiple genres, including poetry (The Voice of Sheila Chandra, Inquisition, Sky Ward, The Far Mosque, The Fortieth Day; All One’s Blue) and the cross-genre texts Bright Felon and Wind Instrument. His novels include The Secret Room: A String Quartet and among his books of essays are the hybrid memoir Silver Road: Essays, Maps & Calligraphies and Fasting for Ramadan: Notes from a Spiritual Practice, and a memoir of his Canadian childhood, Northern Light. Ali is also an accomplished translator (of Marguerite Duras, Sohrab Sepehri, Ananda Devi, Mahmoud Chokrollahi and others) and an editor of several anthologies and books of criticism. After a career in public policy and organizing, Ali taught at various colleges and universities, including Oberlin College, Davidson College, St. Mary's College of California, and Naropa University. He is currently a Professor of Literature at the University of California, San Diego.

About Their Work:

Kazim’s poems weave tales across multiple continents, tongues, spiritual traditions and mythologies, “throwing "ancient quest-ions “out to the hustling silence” and listening to the local world, to the solace-less Universe for “ traces [that] still sing/what vanishes beneath the waves or into the earth or into the air. Like prayers these poems can be “catastrophic, apocalyptic, unspoken” rituals in which “all words are music” “All the strings of the body resound/it’s own orchestra of always opening” our quantum entanglements with all that is. “We are all djinn now anyhow, read, converted, transformed, transmitted”“ multiple beings always impossible/to hold” “The sound there sown there“ “neither one thing nor another” “Or like god, there is too much reflection, head splitting and profane, scraping up every shadow, too much light for anyone to see” 

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