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Why Lit Matters / Kazim Ali

Thursday, April 26, 2018
11AM • WHY LITERATURE MATTERS student/faculty panel
7PM • author KAZIM ALI reading/book signing (plus, Writing Contest awards)
« • »
11AM-12:15 PM • Griffin Gate (Student Center, Building 60)

WHY LITERATURE MATTERSPoetry Slam with Gill Sotu

William Carlos Williams once wrote “It is difficult to get the news from poems, yet men die miserably every day for lack of what is found there.”
In this year's WHY LITERATURE MATTERS, Grossmont College students participate in panel discussion advocating the relevance of literature and its potential to inspire change, cultivate humanity, and serve us in, both, personal and global ways. Each student will share their moving and powerful personal account of the role literature has played in each of their journey.
Past WLM panelists have included PUENTE students, history professor Dr. Sue Gonda, author and Humanities professor Maria Rybakova, Dean of English/Social and Behavioral Sciences Agustin Albarran, English Department Chair Dr. Oralee Holder, Humanities professor Dr. Pete Schmidt, as well as writing students Cassady Lynch and Felicia Williams, both alumnae of the Grossmont College Creative Writing Program.



7-9 PM • Griffin Gate (Student Center, Building 60)
Overflow Seating: Griffin Center main lounge 

poet and author KAZIM ALI + 2018 Writing Contest awards

reading, Q&A, and book signing
WACC logo altKazim Ali is made possible in part by the generosity of WACC,
the World Arts and Cultures Committee of Grossmont College
We Need Diverse Books, with Cindy Pon and Janine Johnson
Photo of Kazim Ali by Tanya Rosen-Jones
The finale to LAF 22 begins with a reading by the 2018 Writing Project winner, then continues with the celebrated Muslim-born KAZIM ALI, an LGBTQ poet, novelist, and memoirist.
Born in the U.K. to Muslim parents of Indian, Iranian and Egyptian descent, Ali holds a B.A. and M.A. from the University of Albany-SUNY, and an M.F.A. from New York University. He is also a former member of the Cocoon Theatre Modern Dance Company and has taught at Oberlin College and the low-residency Stonecoast MFA program at the University of Southern Maine.

Of his writing, Library Journal praises Kazim Ali for continuing “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 books of prose include the recently published novel, The Secret Room: A String Quartet (Kaya Press 2017) and a collection of essays, Fasting for Ramadan: Notes from a Spiritual Practice (Tupelo Press 2011). Among his acclaimed books of poetry are Sky Ward (winner of the Ohioana Book Award in Poetry), The Far Mosque (winner of Alice James Books’ New England/New York Award), and The Fortieth Day. Ali's latest book of poems, Inquisition (Wesleyan Poetry), and his new memoir, Silver Road: Essays, Maps & Calligraphies (Tupelo Press), were both released in early 2018.  
Kazim Ali has received an Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council. Featured in Best American Poetry 2007, 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 now resides in Ohio and is an associate professor of Creative Writing and Comparative Literature at Oberlin College.



Poetry / Transgenre
All One's Blue. Harper Collins India, 2016. ISBN: 9789351775409 Kazim Ali, All One's Blue Kazim Ali, Bright Felon Bright Felon: Autobiographies and Felons. Wesleyan University Press, 2009. ISBN: 9780819572769
The Far Mosque. Alice James Books, 2005. ISBN: 9781882295531 Kazim Ali, The Far Mosque Kazim Ali, The Fortieth Day The Fortieth Day. BOA Editions Ltd., 2008. ISBN: 9781934414040
Inquisition. Wesleyan University Press, 2018. ISBN: 9780819577627 Kazim Ali, Inquisition Kazim Ali, Skyward Sky Ward. Wesleyan, 2013. ISBN: 9780819573575
Anaïs Nin: An Unprofessional Study. Agape Editions, 2017. ISBN: 9781939675378 Kazim Ali, Anais Nin Kazim Ali, Fasting for Ramadan Fasting for Ramadan. Tupelo Press, 2011. ISBN: 9781932195941
Resident Alien. University of Michigan Press, 2015. ISBN: Kazim Ali, Resident Alien Kazim Ali, Orange Alert Orange Alert. University of Michigan Press, 2010. ISBN: 9780472052912
Silver Road: Essays, Maps, and Calligraphies. Tupelo Press, 2018. ISBN: 9781936797998 Kazim Ali, Silver Road
Kazim Ali, The Disappearance of Seth The Disappearance of Seth. Etruscan Press, 2009. ISBN: 9780979745089
Quinn's Passage. blazeVox books, 2005. ISBN: 9780975922774 Kazim Ali, Quinn's Passage Kazim Ali, Secret Room The Secret Room. Kaya Press, 2017. ISBN: 9781885030184
Uncle Sharif's Life in Music. Sibling Sivalry Press, 2016.
 ISBN: 9781943977208 Kazim Ali, Uncle Sharif's Life In Music Kazim Ali, Wind Instrument Wind Instrument. Spork Press, 2014.

Duras, Marguerite. Abahn Sabana David. Open Letter Books, 2016.  ISBN: 9781940953366

Duras, Marguerite. L'amour. Open Letter Books, 2013. ISBN: 9781934824795

Sepehri, Sohrab. The Oasis of Now. BOA Editions, 2013. ISBN: 9781938160226

Sepehri, Sohrab. Water's Footfall. Omnidawn Press, 2011. ISBN: 9781890650551


Ali, Kazim and Robert Stilling, eds. Mad Heart Be Brave: Essays on the Poetry of Agha Shahid Ali. University of Michigan Press, 2017. ISBN: 9780472053506.

Broumas, Olga, T. Begley, and Kazim Ali. Sappho’s Gymnasium. Nightboat, 2017. ISBN: 978-1937658595.

“Checkpoint.” Poem. Kenyon Review May/June 2017. Print. ASIN: B071945K4T

“Home.” Being: What Makes a Man (Being What Makes You). Vol. 2. Ed., Jill McCabe Johnson. University of Nebraska—Lincoln Gender Programs, 2014. 25-28. ISBN: 978-0692404645.

“An Interview with Kazim Ali.” in Our Deep Gossip: Conversations With Gay Writers on Poetry and Desire. Ed., Christopher Hennessy. University of Wisconsin Press, 2013. 978-0299295646

“Painting: An Excerpt from Anaïs Nin: An Unprofessional Study.” A Cafe in Space: The Anais Nin Literary Journal. Vol. 14. Sky Blue Press, 2017. 15-22. ISBN: 978-0998724614.

“On the Line: A Short Vociferation.” Essay. Special Section: Symposium on the Line: Theory and Practice in Contemporary Poetry. Center, A Journal of the Literary Arts 7 (April 2008).

“A Walking Guide to the Heart Of the City.” Essay. Prairie Schooner 87.4 (Winter 2013).

“What’s American About American Poetry.” in A Sense of Regard: Essays on Poetry and Race. Ed., Laura McCullough. University of Georgia Press, 2015. 278-289. ISBN: 978-0820347615.


Official author website:

Alice James Books (Publisher):

Kaya Press (Publisher):

Sibling Rivalry Press (Publisher):

Tupelo Press (Publisher):

University of Michigan Press (Publisher):

Poetry Foundation:





Captions and transcripts available.
“Fairy Tale." (Poem.) Posted 29 Apr 2015 by Broad and High. Duration: 00:03:20.
“Poetry is Dangerous: An Essay by Kazim Ali.” Posted 6 July 2011 by PoetryisNews. Duration: 00:06:18.
“from The Fortieth Day: ‘Dear Sunset, Dear Avalanche,’ and ‘Rope.’” Posted 10 Nov. 2017 by PoetryisNews. Duration: 00:02:11.
“Poet Kazim Ali at Fierce Love: The Field Office Collective Reading.” Posted 23 Jul. 2017 by The Field Office. Duration: 00:14:51.

“The Museum of Flight.” The Rumpus 30 April 2013.

“Private Manning.” Asian American Writers’ Workshop 13 January 2018.

Three Poems (“Abu Nawaaz,” “Jerusalem Syndrome,” and “Home”). Congeries. Connotation Press May 2013.

Three Poems (“Autobiography,” “Rain,” and “Home”). Poetry Foundation.

Three Poems (”Prayer," "The Fortieth Day," and "Open House”). The The Poetry Journal 13 December 2013.

“Trick.” Believer Magazine October 2013.

Two Poems (“Launch” and “dogwood hour—malachite”). Monday’s Poems. The Chronicle of Higher Education 28 November 2010.


Akbar, Kaveh. “Kazim Ali.” Interview. Divedapper 56 (12 September 2016).

“A Cacophonous Kind of World A Conversation with Kazim Ali on the Creation of Music in the Heart of Poetry.” Interlochen Review 3 (2015).

“A Conversation with Kazim Ali.” Interview. Lantern Review 15 April 2013.

Fleischmann, T. Clutch. “Interview with Kazim Ali.” Body Forms: Queerness & the Essay. No. 29. Essay Press Listening Tour, 2015.

“Interview with Kazim Ali.” Inklette 4 (20 February 2017).

“Kazim Ali.” Interview. Poetry Society Of America November 1999.

“Kazim Ali.” Interview. Superstition Review 7 (Spring 2011).

“Kazim Ali - Poetry.” Interview and poems. Congeries. Connotation Press December 2010.

“Mad Heart Be Brave: Essays on the Poetry of Agha Shahid Ali, Edited by Kazim Ali / Robert Stilling.” Review. ASAP Journal 14 September 2017.

Rodriguez-Miralles, Jorge. “Poem(s) of the Week: Kazim Ali.” Interview and poems. The The Poetry Journal 13 December 2013.

Swami, Sridala. “Kazim Ali: The Yogi Poet.” Interview. LiveMint E-Paper 24 November 2014.


“From East Jerusalem to Ramallah.” Huffington Post n.d.

“Introduction to the Works of Orlando White.” New American Poets. Poetry Society of America.

“Navigating the Sacred and the Dangerous In The Holy Land.” Huffington Post 23 July 2011.

“On Instafame & Reading Rupi Kaur.” Poetry Foundation 23 October 2017.

“Practicing Yoga on the Mountain of God.” Huffington Post 11 August 2011.

“Poets Wandering.” Huffington Post n.d.

“Ramadan in Ramallah.” Huffington Post 2 October 2011.

“A Walking Guide to the Heart of a City.” Huffington Post n.d.


"Poetry in the Everyday Life.” Commentary and poem (“Ocean Street”). Weekend Edition. National Public Radio/KPBS Radio 27 April 2013. Duration: 00:01:56.

Excerpts from Orange Alert, The Disappearance of Seth, and Bright Felon; poems (“Gallery,” "Dear Rumi,” "Dear Shams,” "Texting Ishmael,” "Queer Ishmael”) Spring Reading Series, Next Word in Poetry. University of Arizona Poetry Center. 24 February 2011. Duration: 01:18:00

Last Updated: 04/02/2018
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