Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Poetry of Ali Znaidi

Recently two students in my Introduction to Creative Writing, Poetry class reviewed Tunisian poet Ali Znaidi's chapbooks.  Tonight I'd like to post some of Ali's poems so that you may read them for yourself.  He, by the way, writes in English.

The Poems:
there ain’t such a metaphor
everything is an image
everything is a gallery
but why on earth
there ain’t such a metaphor
that blends the body of a scorpion
w/ the grains
of barely?
words are not dead
this isn’t nonsense
this isn’t detour
this isn’t deviation
this is just dawn that smashes darkness
into an ethereal light
this is just a neon red light of the streetlamps
this is just a doorway asking me to write
my own sighs
all that glitters is worthy of words
all that is dim is worthy of experimentation
Feminine Blues
a dolphin w/
a hydrated skin
on the screen
of the  plasma TV
those girls in
the beauty salon
start sighing
Older Tweets I Didn’t Tweet
A schemata of the hummingbird’s snorting.
—I begin to compete w/ fetishized voices.
An echo of the consummated sounds
of a migratory thunder.
—I begin to lament this melancholic existence.
A butterfly has landed on my frigid fingertip.
—I need to mend the broken strings of the violin.
map of a dream
a stone that would cover
a ditch
as foundation would cover
the dark spots on a face
let the colours wade into
an oily canvas
this is your last chance
to piece together
those staccato notes
this is your last chance
to sketch a map for your dreams
because everything belongs to a map

Contributor’s Bio:
Ali Znaidi (b.1977) lives in Redeyef, Tunisia, where he teaches English. His work has appeared in various magazines and journals worldwide. He authored four poetry chapbooks including Experimental Ruminations (Fowlpox Press, 2012), Moon’s Cloth Embroidered with Poems (Origami Poems Project, 2012), Bye, Donna Summer! (Fowlpox Press, 2014), and Taste of the Edge (Kind of a Hurricane Press, 2014). He also authored a fiction book titled Green Cemetery (Moment Publications, 2014) which is in fact the first Tunisian flash fiction collection originally written & published in the English language.
Some of his poems have been translated into German, Greek, Turkish and Italian.
You can see more of his work on his blog at  aliznaidi.blogspot.com.

To get us back in a jazz frame of mind, I am going to play some Jason Moran.

First is his "Ringing My Phone": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TpHq_cRKGyw

Here he is playing with Robert Glasper: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2OOwoN5GuI

Moran also wrote the soundtrack to Selma: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pg8r_A30gyE

Finally, he is playing Monk's "Friday the 13th": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hqiTZhVvX18

Enjoy!  I hope to be setting up the spring schedule this weekend.  So if you've sent in work, you will hear from me soon.


  1. I love Ali's wry sense of humor and ephemeral beauty in contrast with the mundane. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you very much for commenting, Bea. I'm very grateful for Marianne for publishing these poems.

  2. I do not find the feminine blues poem to be "funny". The author obviously does not understand the pressure on females to "look" a certain way.

    1. Dear Joan,

      Thank you very much for commenting. Perhaps, I don't have an idea about the pressure on females to "look" a certain way, but this poem is just an attempt to capture or to grasp the feelings of those "imaginary" girls while waiting to get their skins hydrated.