The Voice of Sheila Chandra
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]
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
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