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