Synopses & Reviews
From the Bible to the Quaraan, the fortieth day symbolizes the last moment before deliverance, a moment in time when a supplicant or prophet or stormbeaten passenger knows there is no state “after,” but finally accepts the present state as a permanent one.
In The Fortieth Day, Kazim Ali follows the fractured narratives and moving lyrics of his debut collection, The Far Mosque, with a deeply spiritual and meditative book exploring the rhetoric of prayer.
Kazim Ali was born in the United Kingdom and raised in an Islamic household. He holds degrees from the University at Albany and New York University. He lives in Oberlin, Ohio.
"Ali's second collection continues the project he began in his debut, The Far Mosque (2005). Through these associative and sometimes disjunctive lyrics, Ali explores Eastern religions Islam, Hinduism as well as his relationship with a more personalized 'God' who represents the unknown while still providing a sense of belonging in the world. In 'Afternoon Prayer,' Ali asks, 'God, a curt question or a curtain.' In the opening, 'Lostness,' Ali describes his particular notion of deity 'dear God of blankness I pray to dear unerasable' and then asks, 'how could I live without You if I were ever given answers'; later, God is equated with the sparseness of daily life: 'dear afternoon God dear evening God my lonely world.' Sometimes Ali arrives at mysterious, striking assertions: 'A person is only a metaphor for the place he wants to go'; elsewhere, one finds well-rendered images: 'the ocean will receive itself / opening its green pages to glass and sand.' A lack of mooring in the physical world makes some poems a bit slight. Nonetheless, Ali eloquently draws attention to the strange, dislocating home we make in human experience, in which 'you are being whipped // around the galaxy's center / at 25 million miles a second.'" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
An exciting younger poet explores the rhetoric of prayer and the dizzying possibilities of meditative ecstasy.
About the Author
Kazim Ali's poetry has recently appeared in jubilat, Barrow Street, The American Poetry Review, and Best American Poetry 2007. An e-chapbook "River Road" appeared on The Drunken Boat, and another long sequence appeared in Bridges: a Journal of Jewish Feminist Literature. His books are The Far Mosque (Alice James), and the novel Quinn's Passage (BlazeVox).