Kazim Ali

1971 –

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

Ali is the author of the poetry collections Indian Winter (Coach House Books, 2024); Sukun (Wesleyan University Press, 2023); and a volume of three long poems titled The Voice of Sheila Chandra (Alice James Books, 2020); 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. His works of poetry often encompass multiple genres. 

Ali’s prose work includes the memoir Northern Light: Power, Land, and the Memory of Water (Milkweed Editions, 2021), about his Canadian childhood, and the novel 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), as well as the critical work Black Buffalo Woman: An Introduction to the Poetry & Poetics of Lucille Clifton (BOA Editions, 2024). He is also a translator of the work of Marguerite Duras, Sohrab Sepehri, Ananda Devi, Mahmoud Chokrollahi, and others, in addition to serving 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. He is currently a professor of literature at the University of California, San Diego. Ali was the Poem-a-Day Guest Editor in August 2021.