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Poetry Canadian


New and Selected Poems

by (author) Kazim Ali

Goose Lane Editions
Initial publish date
Sep 2023
Canadian, LGBT, Asian American
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2023
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Sep 2023
    List Price

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The poetry of Kazim Ali “invites us to give ourselves over to the music of language” (Beloit Poetry Journal). Known for its lyrical and expressive language, “crafted with a controlled, delicate quality that never stops questioning, never stops teaching, and never stops astounding,” (American Poet), Ali’s work explores themes of identity, migration, and the intersections of cultural and spiritual traditions.

Sukun (Arabic for stillness or rest, as well as being a diacritic that indicates there is no vowel to pronounce following a consonant) draws from a generous selection from Ali’s six full-length collections. This remarkable volume also includes 25 astonishing new poems and an afterword by the poet. Together, they allow us to trace Ali's passions and concerns and to take the measure of his art: the close attention to the spiritual and the visceral, and the deep language play that is at once musical and plain spoken.

About the author

Kazim Ali was born in the United Kingdom and has lived transnationally in the United States, Canada, India, France, and the Middle East. His books encompass multiple genres, including the volumes of poetry Inquisition, Sky Ward, winner of the Ohioana Book Award in Poetry; The Far Mosque, winner of Alice James Books’ New England/New York Award; The Fortieth Day; All One’s Blue; and the cross-genre texts Bright Felon and Wind Instrument. His novels include the recently published 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. He 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. His newest books are a volume of three long poems entitled The Voice of Sheila Chandra and a memoir of his Canadian childhood, Northern Light.

Kazim Ali's profile page

Editorial Reviews

“Exquisitely paced, Sukun is testament to Kazim Ali’s distinctive accomplishment as our wandering, ever-questing poet. As one word, one sound, gives birth to another, so these poems trace the path from son to a finally accepting family, from body to spirit, from earth to cosmos.”

Gillian Conoley, author of <i>Notes from the Passenger</i>

“A compilation from the heart and hand of an intense lyricist explores questions of queer love, spirituality, and the idea of home. Celebratory and poignant, vulnerable and wise, Ali works to honor a transnational lineage while also redrawing a genderless line of pilgrim prophet seekers.”

Soham Patel, author of <i>all one in the end—/water</i>

“These poems . . . display his characteristic word play and musical language in explorations of identity, migration, and intersections of cultural and spiritual traditions.”

<i>Prairie Books NOW</i>

“Through Sukun, Ali’s poems extend a hand to hold as we wait outside the door to Nowhere, eager to enter together, to listen, and move into new collective futures.”

<i>Georgia Review</i>

“A comprehensive and stunningly beautiful collection of poems that explore the self in the world often through some form of remove, such as travel or being in a new place. The poems offer to lift us out of the mundane and into a sacred space or heightened brightness.”

Judy Halebsky, author of <i>Spring and a Thousand Years (Unabridged)</i>

“A monument to the ‘music [that comes] out of the woods,’ to the music that was inside us all along. This collection’s movements in and out of various forms, countries, emotional and spiritual landscapes, and decades amounts in the end to a rousing attestation to lyric possibility. A true gift.”

Billy-Ray Belcourt, author of <i>A Minor Chorus</i>