Ali Alizadeh

Rating: 4.33
Rating: 4.33

Ali Alizadeh Poems

She and the fire
fight adjectives. Their concreteness

deflects reification

I'll speak you mine, you speak me yours
since all's in the telling, content, form

to mangle the Master's eavesdropping

The word of Love is nothing but allusion.
Love is not bound by poetic metaphors.

The heart recognises the jewel of Love.
Reason has no inkling of this insight.

I’m comfortable with your confronting me
hurling, albeit politely, the epic query

haunting your ‘tolerance’ and a fever

––Listen my Prince. This is important. I could feel
the dew setting on the leaves and petals of lilies and camellias.

I'll tell you why.
To survive

the onslaught of religion.
To outlive

A bright and barefoot little girl
with a garland of cherry blossoms
enters the unattended village church.

I’m sick of You. Your magnificence
precipitates mental pain, ethical

cramps. That You continue to shine


I can’t pretend
there’s beauty to exhume

from these slabs

<i>After Walter Benjamin </i>

The angry wind has shorn the feathers
off his wings.

He levitates on a fixed spot
by the highway. Is the wind

The being that nullifies its self
becomes worthy of a prompt Union.

The wood that hasn't wiped out the self
cannot possibly become incense.

Rivers are all the same. Dirty water
if you’re lucky, smelly mud and silt

increasingly the case. And dreary


In this World – which is not a world – black
and white withhold truths. In a world

we’d have multiplicities, the purity

How can I define this Real
of language in words? Signs
betray its unsayable being
like a hoax. Has no authenticity


After the sin, I slipped out
of the cave, bright and brave

for a new world. Father’s blood

Since there is no one to be our companion in Love
the prayer-mat is for the pious; wine-dregs and vice for us.

A place where people's souls turn and twist like polo balls
is not a place for rogues; so what's that got to do with us?

Every heart that annihilates its self
becomes worthy of the King's confidence.

The flower that doesn't assume the heart's hue
will be afflicted by its own muddy essence.

on the floor
a little death after a livid

<i>For Justin Clemens

Fin-de-Siècle</i> France
much more congenial

Like the Italian one, my family’s rebirth
spawned masterpieces, caused a breakdown

like the civil wars of the Reformation

Ali Alizadeh Biography

Ali Alizadeh was born in 1976 in Tehran, the capital of the then Kingdom of Iran, two years before the Iranian Revolution transformed the country into an Islamic Republic. He attended primary and ‘guidance’ school in his birthplace during the Iran-Iraq War and its immediate aftermath; and, having taken an early interest in books and literature, produced his first public writing – a simplified prose version of an episode of the early medieval epic Shah-Nameh (Book of Kings) – at 13, winning a young adults’ literary award, and becoming the subject of a documentary film for Iran’s national television. Only months after, Ali’s world capsized as his family immigrated from the oppressive, war-torn country; and his high school years in Queensland, Australia, marred by his classmates’ racism, difficulties of adapting to a mostly hostile environment, and the tribulations of learning English, concluded with his enrolling in the Creative Arts Program at Griffith University, Gold Coast Campus, in 1995. Ali’s experience as a Creative Writing student at Griffith was formative: influenced by new friends and popular grunge music, he began writing performance poems and reading them at pubs and student gatherings; then, after accepting an offer to do his Honours at the same university, he produced an experimental narrative poem titled eliXir: a story in poetry, his first book. Ali then moved to Melbourne to study for his PhD at Deakin University, went on to complete his thesis, an exploration and redefinition of epic poetry titled ‘La Pucelle: the Epic of Joan of Arc’, in 2004; while publishing poems and other writings in local and national literary journals, and winning the Verandah magazine’s 2000 Literary Award for the long poem ‘Princess’. Among other works of this period: poetry-film collaboration with director Bill Mousoulis, A Sufi Valentine; and the poem ‘Rumi’, first performed at La Mama Theatre, published in the literary journal Going Down Swinging, featured on ABC television’s Sunday Arts program in 2007, included in The Penguin Anthology of Australian Poetry in 2008, and described by Jaya Savige in a review in The Australian as a “wonderful poem [that] resonates unnervingly with the Australian landscape”. Ali has also had poetry, poetry translations and poetry criticism published in literary journals such as Meanjin, Westerly, Overland, HEAT, Southerly, Jacket, Kalimat, The Warwick Review, Poetry Review, Wasafiri, Famous Reporter, Divan, Cordite Poetry Review, Stylus Poetry Journal, turnrow, Atlanta Review, Red Weather, Voiceworks, Mascara Literary Review, Angelaki: The Journal of the Theoretical Humanities, TEXT: Journal of Writing and Writing Courses, and Woorilla; The Age, The Australian, and The Sun-Herald newspapers; and anthologies such as Culture Is… Australian Stories Across Cultures, Said the Rat!, The Best Australian Poems 2008, Contemporary Australian Poetry in Chinese Translation, The Best Australian Poetry 2009, Hidden Agendas: Unreported Poetics, Thresholds: Essays on the International Prague Poetry Scene, The Best Australian Poems 2010, The Best Australian Poems 2011, Thirty Australian Poets, and Over There: Poems from Singapore and Australia. Ali’s poem in the last anthology, ‘Listening to Michael Jackson in Tehran’, has been described by Kerry Leves in a review in the Overland magazine as “a cross-cultural tour de force which puts sociality – as opposed to, say, clashing fundamentalisms – front-row-centre”. Since being awarded his PhD in Professional Writing, Ali has published four more books: a collection of poems articulating perceptions shaped by violence, Eyes in Times of War (Salt Publishing, 2006); with Kenneth Avery, translations of mystical poems of a Sufi master, Fifty Poems of Attar (, 2007); the novel The New Angel (Transit Lounge Publishing, 2008 ), a tragic love story set during the Iran-Iraq War; Iran: My Grandfather (Transit Lounge Publishing, 2010), a work of creative non-fiction about Ali’s grandfather and modern Iranian history; and the new collection of poetry Ashes in the Air (University of Queensland Press, 2011). Having decided to leave Australia in search of creative freedom and inspiration, he lived in China for two years until 2007, then in Turkey for another year, before moving to Dubai where he taught writing and literature for three years. He has recently returned to Melbourne, and lives with his wife Penelope and son Jasper. Ali is the reviews editor for the literary journal Cordite Poetry Review, one of the editors of VLAK: Poetics and the Arts, and a blogger with Meanland.)

The Best Poem Of Ali Alizadeh

Joan Of Arc

She and the fire
fight adjectives. Their concreteness

deflects reification
by language. She simply is

a pronoun. It may signify
say, my wife (coming from me

'she' often does) or, yes
a medieval French woman, her being

so roughly abridged
by the pronoun, as brutally fed

to the fire. Regarding the fire
dazzling, heaving, devouring

won't do. It only suggests
a familiar occurrence: ouch

when flame touches skin. Indeed
flame doesn't suffice (rhymes with lame)

and a pyre, much more poetic,
based on the transcripts based on

wordy statements. So much
reliance on the makeshift engine

of abstraction, language. She
did, I think, end in fire, but hero

saint, witch, schizophrenic
won't do. Will numbers rectify

the flaws of alphabetical signs: 1412
to 1431? Historians can't be certain

about either: no records
other than her reserved guess

on the first day of trial
apropos birth, and her famed death

also contested by theorists
of bad conspiracies. So I can't

force the ephemeral stuff
of her matter into a mould (a poem)

with description, facts
or even an attempted evocation. She

floats and evades
perhaps - if I may hazard a simile -

like her ashes, diffused
by an English guard over the Seine.

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