VIDA Reads with Writers – Kazim Ali!

What are you reading on the subway or in the waiting room today? 

I’m reading WET LAND by Lucas de Lima as well as re-reading for the millionth time MUSE AND DRUDGE by Harryette Mullen alongside Barbara Henning’s Looking Up Harryette Mullen. I’m enjoying the notion Muse and Drudgeof reading a private conversation. POETIC EQUATION, conversations between Margaret Walker and Nikki Giovanni is one of my favorite books.

What book popped for you in 2015?

I’m really looking forward to checking out new books from Robin Coste Lewis and Ada Limon, which I don’t have yet. Also, I had great pleasure of editing two wonderful books for Nightboat Books, one is called THE OLD PHILOSOPHER by Vi Khi Nao, which will be coming out in spring 2016 and the other is a new and updated edition of Olga Broumas and T Begley’s SAPPHO’S GYMNASIUM, which we hope to bring out in 2017.

Whose words do you return to regularly?

Carole Maso, Lucille Clifton, Fanny Howe, Agha Shahid Ali, Mahmoud Darwish, Lisel Mueller, Susan Howe, Jean Valentine, Meena AlexanderGillian Conoley, I really could go on and on.

Is there an author you can’t wait to read next?

Hala Alyan’s book FOUR CITIES, which I read in manuscript but it’s just come out as a book from Black Lawrence Press.

What are you working on now? What can VIDA fans look forward to from you next?

My selected poems is coming out in India–it has some new material in it but you won’t be able to get it here unless you search intrepidly on-line. I’ve just published a book of essays called RESIDENT ALIEN (University of Michigan Press), you can order here.

I’m working on new poems always. I just finished a translation of Marguerite Duras’ ABAHN SABANA DAVID which should be out from Open Letter in the spring and Sibling Rivalry Press is going to publish my
very first book of short fiction UNCLE SHARIF’S LIFE IN MUSIC AND OTHER STORIES in the fall of 2016.


no productKAZIM ALI’s
books include five volumes of poetry, The Far Mosque, The Fortieth Day, Bright Felon, Sky Ward, the winner of the Ohio Book Award for Poetry in 2014, and All One’s Blue: New and Selected Poems; three novels, Quinn’s Passage, The Disappearance of Seth and Wind Instrument; and three collections of essays, Orange Alert: Essays on Poetry, Art and the Architecture of Silence, Fasting for Ramadan and Resident Alien: On Border-crossing and the Undocumented Divine. He has translated books by Sohrab Sepehri, Ananda Devi and Marguerite Duras. He is an associate professor of Comparative Literature and the director of the Creative Writing Program at Oberlin College as well as the founding editor of the small press Nightboat Books.