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The Fortieth Day

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The Fortieth Day

By: Kazim Ali

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Throughout the four sections of The Fortieth Day, a supplicant writes letter after letter that is unanswered, an old man pauses on the street unsure of which direction lies his home, silence deafens, and prayers of various orthodox and unorthodox kinds are constructed and offered.

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The Fortieth Day takes its title from the various incarnations of that chronologically symbolically event: if after forty days and forty nights the deluge receded, if Jesus and Moses both wandered in the desert for forty days, if after forty days—according to the Quraan—God’s breath enters an embryo and imbues it with a spirit, then the fortieth day must be the last moment before deliverance, a moment in time when a supplicant or prophet or storm-beaten passenger knows there is no state “after,” but finally accepts the present state as a permanent one. Throughout the four sections of The Fortieth Day, a supplicant writes letter after letter that is unanswered, an old man pauses on the street unsure of which direction lies his home, silence deafens, and prayers of various orthodox and unorthodox kinds are constructed and offered. Where does inspiration to live come from? Why is it important to think about the spiritual condition of the world? These poems can’t answer these questions or perhaps won’t, because it’s the process of thinking about them that is privileged in this richly layered text. " In his second book, The Fortieth Day, Kazim Ali has created a cross between a poetry collection and a sacred text...Ali's lyrics are crafted with a controlled, delicate quality that never stops questioning, never stops teaching, never stops astounding."--American Poet "Ali (Far Mosque) continues his task of creating a rejuvinated 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 the poet of ideas and symbols, yet his words remain living entities within the texture of the poem...The result is a new and ambitious poetry that should be considered for all poetry collections."--Library Journal   "These poems by Kazim Ali are gorgeous, each phrase a breath of prayer, the words presented as humble offerings, each one a deep bow." –The Rumpus  


Rope


The wintered plot concludes in a chapter he refuses to translate

The lyre is a liar, a string of gut pulled taut

As a newborn his father whispered into his ears the call to prayer

Each strand of his father’s voice is a shaft of light from Heaven

A rope thrown down to rescue him

He wants to grab hold, climb up, disappear


© BOA Editions, Ltd 2008

Available editions:
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Paperback ISBN: 978-1-934414-04-0
Price: $16.00
Publishing Date: May 2008

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Authors Kazim Ali
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