The Far Mosque

Kazim Ali

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The Far Mosque by Kazim Ali is a book in which the author has managed to render into the English language the universal inner voice. These poems talk to the reader from the realm in which we are all human. What a poet to be able to define spirit using the American vocabulary These poems, so very different from my own, speak clearly to me. What a gift -Lucille Clifton These gently fragmented narrative lyrics pursue enlightenment in long, elegant yet plain-spoken, dark yet ecstatic lines. Ali travels by water and by night, seeking the Far Mosque and its overarching paradox: that when God and Self are one, an ascent into Heaven is a voyage within. Still Life with Vase and Music Four red boats clack against each other softly, lashed to the dock. A vase is meant to hold, not to unravel. Each tow-rope is a thread. Each thread is a chance to weave. The vase gives form to emptiness, as music does to silence. At the poet’s tomb in Kashmir supplicants tie green threads around the bars to achieve the fulfillment of their prayers. I do not want to return home without that which I came for. The poet was here-but he’s gone now-you’ve missed him. The river turns three times on the journey home. I tie the thread around my own wrist bone. Kazim Ali lives in New York’s Hudson Valley, where he is co-editor of Nightboat Books and an assistant professor of liberal arts at The Culinary Institute of America. He received his MFA from New York University and is the author of a novel, Quinn’s Passage (BlazeVox Books). His poetry has been published in The Colorado Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Rattapallax, and elsewhere.

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