A deeply complex and beautiful analysis of poetry in its many forms and its use in collaborations with other arts and disciplines
Kazim Ali uses a range of subjects—the politics of checkpoints at international borders; difficulties in translation; collaborations between poets and choreographers; and connections between poetry and landscape, or between biotechnology and the human body—to situate the individual human body into a larger global context, with all of its political and social implications. He finds in the quality of ecstatic utterance his passport to regions where reason and logic fail and the only knowledge is instinctual, in physical existence and breath. This collection includes Ali’s essays on topics such as Anne Carson’s translations of Euripides; the poetry and politics of Mahmoud Darwish; Josey Foo’s poetry/dance collaborations with choreographer Leah Stein; Olga Broumas’ collaboration with T. Begley; Jorie Graham’s complication of Kenneth Goldsmith’s theories; the postmodern spirituality of the 14th century Kashmiri mystic poet Lalla; translations of Homer, Mandelstam, Sappho, and Hafez; as well as the poet Reetika Vazirani’s practice of yoga.
Kazim Ali is a poet, essayist, fiction writer, and translator. His most recent books include the volumes of poetry Sky Ward, The Far Mosque (winner of Alice James Books’ New England/New York Award), and The Fortieth Day, as well as the cross-genre text Bright Felon: Autobiography and Cities and the essay collection Fasting for Ramadan. He is an associate professor of Creative Writing and Comparative Literature at Oberlin College.
“Ali has a vibrant and generous personality that lets one hear the inner music that makes us remember what it is to be human.”
—Painted Bride Quarterly