Jeevika Verma at NPR:
Kazim Ali’s latest book of poems is born out of our collective existential crisis. How do we continue to survive “in a world governed by storm and noise”? Creating an ingenious form on the page, Ali uses sound to give us a sort of research project that grapples with this crisis of survival over time. But the project’s beauty manifests from the impossibility of its findings. After all, how is one supposed to answer the colossal question of existence?
Ali, who is an accomplished translator, editor, and teacher, takes on this task by going beyond our understanding of language. As such, with three long poems strung together by four short ones, the collection is a form in itself, complete in its sequential innovation. It is intentional in its intricacy as it seeps through the pages and transcends something that can be contained.
Throughout The Voice of Sheila Chandra, Ali grabs fragments of stories to depict the ways we study our past, realize our survival, and move into the next sequence.