To go without food from dawn to dusk for the month of Ramadan - how does this feel? When we deny our major appetites, what do we become? Kazim Ali brings a poet's precision and ardor to his brilliant meditations on ritual fasting. Jane Hirshfield, author of AFTER and NINE GATES, says: "Kazim Ali -- a writer whose powers astonish in everything he puts pen to -- has made in FASTING FOR RAMADAN a book that is hybrid, peregrine, and deeply, quietly revelatory. Ali's meditations on the month-long ritual fast unfold, across cultures and spiritual practices, the deep meaning of a chosen foregoing. These journal-born pages are both intimate and public, at once ecumenical, particular, daily, and eloquently learned; planted on the deep roots of tradition, they breathe this moment's air. Is it possible for a work to be at once modest and an undeniable tour de force? This book proves: it is."
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Kazim Ali is author of two volumes of poetry, THE FAR MOSQUE (Alice James Books, 2005) and The Fortieth Day (BOA Editions, 2008), four books of prose—the novels QUINN'S PASSAGE (BlazeVOX Books, 2004) and THE DISAPPEARANCE OF SETH (Etruscan Press, 2009); a collection of critical writing, Orange Alert: Essays on Poetry, Art and the Architecture of Silence (University of Michigan Press, 2010), and the inspirational memoir FASTING FOR RAMADAN (Tupelo Press, 2011)—as well as a mixed-genre book, Bright Felon: Autobiography and Cities (Wesleyan University Press, 2009), finalist for the Ohioana Book Award for Poetry and the Lantern Award for Memoir. Born to Indian parents living in England and raised in Canada and the U.S., Ali has worked as a political organizer, lobbyist, yoga instructor, and professor. Founding editor of Nightboat Books, he now teaches at Creative Writing and Literature at Oberlin College and in the University of Southern Maine's low-residency M.F.A. program.Review:
"Ali brings a razor-sharp minimalism to his prose. From morning runs through the pre-dawn streets in Oberlin, Ohio, planning his high-protein morning meal to post-dusk iftar meals with students who offer prayers in his yoga studio, readers are wooed with intelligent prose onto this pilgrim's path. Those seeking traditional Islamic piety or a logic-driven religious apologetic will not find it here. Instead, Ali boldly sketches the modern artist engaged in an ancient religious practice in an age of iftar Tweetups and iQuran mobile phone apps." -- Publishers Weekly --Publishers Weekly
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