Photo by Marco Wilkinson BOA poet and translator Kazim Ali adorns the front cover of The American Poetry Review's Sept/Oct issue, and is featured inside with five new poems and an extensive (and intimately personal) interview with Christopher Hennessy. "Here is a poet of non-narrative experimentation suddenly faced with speaking autobiographical truths; a young gay Muslim negotiating his personal, familial and religious view of homosexuality." Hennessy delves deep into Ali's personal feelings about writing, the specific role in prompting discussions about repressive language, and how Ali himself came out in his book Bright Felon. He cites "something seismic" that happened in Bright Felon, which "changed the writing." A coming out that was difficult, but necessary for Ali. "'Coming out is breaking a certain kind of silence. I had to break the silence in my life in order to live and be alive,'" says Ali, while admitting that the pressure to conform was affecting his writing. According to the poet, coming out has affected what he writes about and how he writes it; no longer able to hover in the "suspension" of silence, he has become more attuned to the "ordinariness." The raw and stirring nature of this interview reveals Ali's internal struggles in his quest to find himself through writing. This a telling piece, a must-read. Kazim Ali is the translator of BOA's new Persian translation The Oasis of Now (November 2013) with poems by Sohrab Sepehri, and is author of The Fortieth Day (May 2008). Order copies of each at the BOA Bookstore.
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