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Sukun by Kazim Ali

The world is wound

Around me wound

That blessing that approaches

Reproach that world that would

Wind wood wind wound

How thunder would sunder

The sound there sown there

Is shown shone sewn

To a one that wood

Remain remains still

Won in the world could

Will I one will I shunned

Son soon swoon sukun

About the Poet

Kazim Ali at Buffalo Reading Park

Kazim Ali is a poet, novelist, and essayist whose work explores themes of identity, migration, and the intersections of cultural and spiritual traditions. His poetry is known for its lyrical and expressive language, as well as its close attention to the spiritual and the visceral, and the deep language play that is both musical and plain spoken.

Born in the United Kingdom to Muslim parents of Indian, Iranian and Egyptian descent, Ali was raised in the Buffalo suburb of Williamsville. He received a B.A. and M.A. from the University of Albany-SUNY, and an M.F.A. from New York University. One of the most prolific voices of his literary generation, he is the author of 20 books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, the most recent of which is “Sukun: New and Selected Poems” published on September 5th by Wesleyan University Press. This poem is the final and title poem of the collection.

In Arabic, “Sukun” means serenity or calm, and a sukun is also a form of punctuation in Arabic orthography that denotes a pause over a consonant.

The Poem of the Week feature is curated by literary legacy awardee R.D. Pohl.