Northern Light: Power, Land, and the Memory of Water


Product Details

$24.00  $22.32
Milkweed Editions
Publish Date
5.6 X 8.6 X 0.9 inches | 0.85 pounds

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About the Author

Kazim Ali was born in the United Kingdom and has lived transnationally in the United States, Canada, India, France, and the Middle East. His books encompass multiple genres, including the volumes of poetry Inquisition, Sky Ward, winner of the Ohioana Book Award in Poetry; The Far Mosque, winner of Alice James Books' New England/New York Award; The Fortieth Day; All One's Blue; and the cross-genre texts Bright Felon and Wind Instrument. His novels include the recently published The Secret Room: A String Quartet and among his books of essays are the hybrid memoir Silver Road: Essays, Maps & Calligraphies and Fasting for Ramadan: Notes from a Spiritual Practice. He is also an accomplished translator (of Marguerite Duras, Sohrab Sepehri, Ananda Devi, Mahmoud Chokrollahi, and others) and 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. His newest books are a volume of three long poems entitled The Voice of Sheila Chandra and a memoir of his Canadian childhood, Northern Light.


"Ali's lyrical, hypnotic storytelling takes us on an unlikely journey to a place that only now exists in his childhood memories: a remote industrial community in the boreal forest of northern Canada. I was mesmerized by the voice of a poet who methodically and artistically recounts his once-i- a-lifetime journey to connect with a Cree tribe called the Pimicikamak, the original owners and occupiers of the land and water that mesmerized him as a child. The human landscape Kazim Ali creates in his work, interweaving his own familial and cultural disruption - with those of the Pimicikamak Cree is intriguing and profound."--Darrel McLeod, author of Mamaskatch

Praise for Kazim Ali

"Reading Ali is an act of redemption even when the worst is spiked and wired with hatred and danger. His perspective on time is both a challenge and a balm."--The Rumpus

"Ali's lyrics are crafted with a controlled, delicate quality that never stops questioning, never stops teaching, never stops astounding."--American Poet

"Lyrical, political, humorous, light and deep--Ali strikes out in many directions. . . . The resulting harmonies--and even the discord--are beautiful."--Justin Torres, author of We the Animals

"A master of so many genres and forms--poetry, fiction, essay, memoir--Ali seems to manage the ultimate feat: to slip free from the limitations of these categories."--Rahul Mehta, author of Quarantine

"Ali's forceful use of musicality is incantatory, pushing his lyrics from the realm of the everyday into the unknown or even the sublime. . . . Ali also finds tension between the pulls of prayer and silence, void and profusion, the hidden and the overt. The result is a charged space in which a very contemporary voice takes on an elemental and numinous sheen."--Publishers Weekly

"The speed and energy of this language, and its confident movement, are undeniable and compelling. There is a lovely plenitude in the embroidery woven out of these journeys, inner and outer the rich and nuanced tracings of contemporary experience Ali offers here are reward enough."--Georgia Review

"What a gift Ali's Inquisition is, what a generosity, in its sustained and sustaining inhabitation of the mystery. That, without ignoring heartbreak or rage, it understands that we are always 'at the end of knowing, ' and shows us how we might reside there. And from which residence, Inquisition reminds me: love."--Ross Gay, author of The Book of Delights

"Ali extends to us a living and moving wondering in Silver Road--an active and rational thinking, yes, though poured from the vessel of body, its clay, breath and frailty. . . . Here, I can 'stare into the dark of Nothing to see.' Then see both ancient and newborn constellations of theory, beliefs and dreaming; see the intersections; see relationships. . . . Ali's admission of aloneness . . . causes the space of loneliness itself to collapse."--Layli Long Soldier, author of Whereas