Introduction and conversation moderated by poet and Kundiman fellow, Gowri Koneswaran
Both Kaveh Akbar and Kazim Ali explore the relationship between poetry and prayer, examining the silence and breath in each lyric. Kaveh Akbar is the author of the chapbook Portrait of the Alcoholic and his debut full-length collection is Calling a Wolf a Wolf. He is a recipient of the Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation and the Lucille Medwick Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America. Born in Tehran, Iran, Akbar is the Visiting Professor of Poetry at Purdue University.
Poet, essayist, novelist, and translator Kazim Ali has published several volumes of poetry including The Far Mosque, winner of Alice James Books' New England/New York Award, Sky Ward, The Fortieth Day, and the cross-genre work Bright Felon: Autobiography and Cities. A new poetry book, Inquisition, is forthcoming. His books of essays include Orange Alert: Essays on Poetry, Art and the Architecture of Silence.
It’s serious business, this living.
As long as the earth continues
its stony breathing, I will breathe.
When it stops I will shatter back
into gravity. Into quartz.
Excerpt from “Rimrock” from Calling a Wolf a Wolf by Kaveh Akbar © 2017, published by Alice James Books. Used with permission.
Co-sponsored with Kundiman, an organization that supports and sustains Asian-American poetry.