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Sky Ward
Kazim Ali

Wesleyan Poetry Series

2013 • 100 pp. 6 x 9"

$24.95 Hardcover, 978-0-8195-7357-5

$19.99 Ebook, 978-0-8195-7358-2

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.

Through his attempt to fly, Icarus was injured by the heavens, not healed. From this basis in myth, Ali explores the ongoing conflict between religion and homosexuality…In Ali’s interpretation... [continued in Reviews below]”—Puerto del Sol

New poems from this poet of “precision and ardor”

Drunk on the sun and the sea, Kazim Ali’s new poems swoop linguistically but ground themselves vividly in the daily and real. Both imprisoned by endlessness and dependent on it for nurturing and care, in Sky Ward Ali goes further than ever before in sounding out the spaces between music and silence, between sky and ocean, between human and eternal. “Daily I wish stitched here to live,” moans his Prometheus, wondering what release from familiar bondage might actually portend. “So long liberation,” his Icarus sings as he plummets from the sky with desperation and grace, ready to unfeather and plunge into the everything-new. Whether in the extended poem-prayer to Alice Coltrane or in the “deleted scenes” and “alternate endings” to his critically acclaimed volume Bright Felon, or in the spirit-infused and multi-faceted lyrics he has become known for, Ali once again reinvents possibilities for the personal lyric and narrative.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements

“Through his attempt to fly, Icarus was injured by the heavens, not healed. From this basis in myth, Ali explores the ongoing conflict between religion and homosexuality…In Ali’s interpretation of the myth, the rise and fall of Icarus is not a straight line, instead it is a constant plummeting, soaring, and plunging again.”
Puerto del Sol

“Beautiful, echoing poetry that finds ‘No return home but an eternity of transformation.’ Ali has a delicate touch and these poems leave us (for we are reluctant to leave them), playing in space.”—Tracie Morris, author of Rhyme Scheme

“Ali is one of the very few poets now writing dedicated to the enlargement (rather than the abandonment) of the lyric mode. With these new poems, he has opened a wide, new space for the music of what happens and shown us a worthy, if challenging, task for that music.”—Donald Revell, author of The Bitter Withy

“In, out, secrecy, exposure. The book is resonant with the poetry of Hafiz and Rumi but stays grounded in the contemporary, especially in its candor, and unease. But then the language and vision is also Romantic and pleasurable, calling to be heard aloud”—Fanny Howe, author of Come and See

From the Book:


Oh the diminishing racket of voices
calling my name eclipsed
by the new moon and indiscernible dark

I have somehow become the center of the universe

I wept for a year on the open water
strangling myself with banishment
sensation vanishing in the depths

the rain a faded photo from fifteen years ago

I am a forgotten bit of metropolitan trash
tied to his moment of redrawing the border
between twilight and daybreak

Forever at the edge of something that could save me

And the disastrous fear of what it would take to save me
My life in its entirety only imaginary
or perhaps the rapturous notion

I cannot be saved


Winner of the Ohioana Book Award in Poetry (2014)

KAZIM ALI is a poet, essayist, fiction writer, and translator. His books of poetry include The Far Mosque, The Fortieth Day, and Bright Felon. Ali is an associate professor of creative writing and comparative literature at Oberlin College and teaches in the Stonecoast MFA program at the University of Southern Maine.

This project is supported in part by an award from
National Endowment for the Arts

Sun, 23 Sep 2018 14:04:29 -0500