Poetic Voices of the Muslim World: Poetry Reading and Discussion

11/17/2015 5:30 PM

Poetic Voices of the Muslim World: Poetry Reading and Discussion

Poetic Voices of the Muslim World: Poetry Reading and Discussion
Poet and author Kazim Ali presents readings of his poems, a view from the vantage point of a Muslim and an American.

Kazim Ali

b. 1971
Kazim Ali

Poet, editor, and prose writer Kazim Ali was born in the United Kingdom to Muslim parents of Indian descent. He received a BA and MA from the University of Albany-SUNY, and an MFA from New York University.

Ali’s poetry collections include The Far Mosque(2005), which won Alice James Books’ New England/New York Award, The Fortieth Day (2008), and Sky Ward (2013). Ali’s poems, both lyric and musical, explore the intersection of faith and daily life. In a review of The Fortieth DayLibrary Journal noted that Ali “continues his task of creating a rejuvenated language that longs to be liberated from the weight of daily routine and the power of dogmatic usage . . . writing in the tradition of Wallace Stevens, Ali is clearly a poet of ideas and symbols, yet his words remain living entities within the texture of the poem.”

His prose includes The Disappearance of Seth (2009), Bright Felon: Autobiography and Cities (2009), and the forthcoming Resident Alien: On Border-crossing and the Undocumented Divine. He is also the author of the novel Quinn’s Passage (2005), which was named one of the Best Books of 2005 by Chronogram magazine.

In 2003 Ali co-founded Nightboat Books and served as the press’s publisher until 2007.

He has received an Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council, and his poetry has been featured in Best American Poetry. Ali has been a regular columnist for the American Poetry Review and a contributing editor for the Association of Writers and Writing Programs’ Writer’s Chronicle. He is a former member of the Cocoon Theatre Modern Dance Company.

Ali has taught at Oberlin College and the low-residency Stonecoast MFA program at the University of Southern Maine. He lives in Oberlin, Ohio. 

In January 2014, Ali was a featured writer for Harriet.

Date: Tuesday, November 17, 2015
Time: 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. 
Venue: AFPL Central Library, One Margaret Mitchell Square, Atlanta 30303. 
free and open to the public. 
Contact: 404.730.1896


Poetic Voices of the Muslim World: Children’s Story Time
Saturday, November 21. 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Jelena Naim will lead an interactive session for children under 10 that includes story time followed by crafts that are related to Muslim customs, observances and holidays. NOTE: Because materials will be provided, please RSVP to 404-730-1900 if you are planning to bring your children to attend.

I am the beggar of the world: landays from contemporary Afghanistan. An eye-opening collection of clandestine poems by Afghan Pashtun women. A landay, or folk couplet , is an ancient oral and anonymous form created by and for mostly illiterate people: the more than 20 million Pashtun women who span the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Brutal and spare, landays can be remixed like rap, and are powerful in that they make no attempts to be literary.

The hundred thousand fools of God: musical travels in Central Asia (and Queens, New York), by Theodore Levin. An ethnomusicologist, Levin recorded music through urban and rural Transoxania, uncovering the fate of traditions, beliefs, and social relationships in Muslim and Jewish Central Asian cultures during and after seventy years of Soviet rule. The book introduces urban musical genres such as maqam, mavrigi, suvara, and dastan, while in rural areas the focus is on the epic-reciter and the healer, both called baxshi, and on performers of a variety of folk genres. 

Load poems like guns: women's poetry from Herat, Afghanistan, translatedby Farzana Marie. A collection, in English and Dari, of contemporary poetry along with biographical information about the poets. A long introduction places poems and poets in context for a Western audience with special focus on Nadia Anjuman, whose life, cut short, serves as a sobering example of the battles faced by a young female poet. 

Majestic nights: love poems of Bengali women. Selected, edited and translated by Carolyne Wright and co-translators. This collection includes work from a range of Bengali women poets, both Indian and Bangladeshi, as well as those in the diaspora. The poems look at how Bengali women tell their truths of the heart and mind through the prism of their struggles for equality, opportunity, and recognition in a changing society.

Modern poetry of Pakistan, edited by Iftikhar Arif. Includes poems translated from seven major languages in Pakistan: Balochi, Kashmiri, Punjabi, Pashto, Seraiki, and Sindhi and Urdu. This collection reveals a society with ethnic, class and political differences, but also a literature unified by traditions both classical and modern.

Nets of awareness: Urdu poetry and its critics, by Frances W. Pritchett. The ghazal, one of the most beautiful and richest traditions of lyric poetry in Muslim culture for centuries, fell out of favor among modern Urdu critics in modern times. Pritchett unpeels the layers of 19th century colonialism to find the reasons.

On wings of diesel: trucks, identity and culture in Pakistan, by Jamal J. Elias. Vehicle decoration is practiced in many countries. In Pakistan, trucks are often decorated with verses of poetry, both sacred and profane. 

The rebel's silhouette: selected poems, by Faiz Ahmed Faiz ; translated with a new introduction by Kashmiri poet Agha Shahid Ali. Considered the leading poet on the South Asian subcontinent, evening readings in Hindi/Urdu-speaking regions by Faiz Ahmed Faiz (1911-1984) drew thousands of listeners. Faiz became an outspoken poet in opposition to the Pakistani government and was also a professor of English literature, a distinguished editor and a major figure in the Afro-Asian writer's movement. 

Sanata: stillness, music by Kiran Ahluwalia. The latest CD from the radiant two-time Juno Award winner (Canada's Grammy), described as " a heady hybrid of Indian grooves, Saharan Blues and Western Jazz"

Seam, by Tarfia Faizullah. Daughter of immigrants and raised in West Texas, Faizullah’s blistering poems tell the stories of the 1971 Bangladesh genocide.

Where rivers and mountains sing: sound, music, and nomadism in Tuva and beyond. Whether Muslim, Buddhist, or of shamanist traditions, the music of Inner Asia keeps alive beloved stories, praise-songs, and epic tales as long as 30 times the length of Homer’s Iliad.

Back to Events...






Sign up for our weekly newsletter


Potomac_wavesmedia Banner ad.png 



Krishnan Co WebBanner.jpg


Embassy Bank_gif.gif