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The Voice of Sheila Chandra

Kazim Ali

$20.00 $13.60 (includes shipping)

978-1-913007-11-9 · 80 pages · 153 × 234 mm · Jun. 2021

Selected by Sarah Howe and Andrew McMillan as the Poetry Book Society’s Summer 2021 Choice.

In The Voice of Sheila Chandra—named for the British singer rendered almost voiceless by a rare neurological condition—poems give necessary space not only to voice but also its absence. Within its history, both real and imagined, there is contemplation and an urgency for survival. [UK edition]

Watch both launch events for The Voice of Sheila Chandra here and here on Instagram.

Kazim Ali was born in the United Kingdom and has lived transnationally in the United States, Canada, India, France, and the Middle East. His books encompass multiple genres, including poetry, novels, and translations. He is currently a Professor of Literature at the University of California, San Diego.

Praise & Reviews

Parts of this collection feel like a long fragmented wail inside a temple, others like a quiet internal dialogue. An impressive, lyrical feat. — Raymond Antrobus

Ali takes the space of the poem as a field. He pulls into it disparate strands of philosophy, history, politics, music, art and culture until the field of the poem resonates with life. It’s an inventively formal, ecstatic joy of a read. — Roger Robinson

Kazim Ali is a cosmopolitan spirit ill at ease in a desacralised world and these epic metaphysical poems rank among his finest work. — André Naffis-Sahely

Like the collection at large, the individual shards come together into a moving, exhilarating whole. — Sarah Howe, PBS Summer Bulletin

… a stunning book that everyone should read. — Andrew McMillan

… one of the richest, most ambitious books of poetry I’ve read in recent years. — Carrie Etter

The Voice of Sheila Chandra is a hybrid text which radically expands our notions of what a poem—or a poetry collection—can and should be. — Sarala Estruch, for Poetry School’s Books of the Year 2021

Kazim is constantly reconfiguring the frame of the poem and sound. — Zakia Carpenter-hall, Poetry Wales

This newest collection is challenging in that it ruptures how I might normally approach reading… The Voice of Sheila Chandra is an inventive poetic text, one rife with music, and also with invocation, recitation, silence, enquiry. — Alycia Pirmohamed, Poetry School

Praise for the US edition:

The Voice of Sheila Chandra is alive with formal invention and innovation that will surely be a fixture in contemporary poetry for years to come. — sam sax

[A] book that is as metaphysical as it is very much of this moment, of this, our crisis … a brilliant book. — Ilya Kaminsky

There is something major happening here, something that transcends the artifice of language. — Kaveh Akbar