Kazim Ali

1971 –

Kazim Ali was born in the United Kingdom and has lived transnationally in the United States, Canada, India, France, and the Middle East.

Ali is the author of Sukun (Wesleyan University Press, 2023); a volume of three long poems entitled The Voice of Sheila Chandra (Alice James Books, 2020); and a memoir about his Canadian childhood, Northern Light: Power, Land, and the Memory of Water (Milkweed Editions, 2021). His books encompass multiple genres, including Wind Instrument (Spork Press, 2014); Sky Ward (Wesleyan University Press, 2013), winner of the Ohioana Book Award in Poetry; Bright Felon (Wesleyan University Press, 2009); and The Far Mosque (Alice James Books, 2005), winner of Alice James Books’ New England/New York Award.  

Ali’s novels include The Secret Room: A String Quartet (Kaya Press, 2017). Among his books of essays are the hybrid memoirs Silver Road: Essays, Maps & Calligraphies (Tupelo Press, 2018) and Fasting for Ramadan: Notes from a Spiritual Practice (Tupelo Press, 2011). He is also a translator of the work of Marguerite Duras, Sohrab Sepehri, Ananda Devi, Mahmoud Chokrollahi, and others, as well as 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. Ali was the Poem-a-Day Guest Editor for August 2021, and is currently a professor of literature at the University of California, San Diego.