Bright Felon: Autobiography and Cities

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Wesleyan University Press, Mar 1, 2010 - Poetry - 112 pages
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This groundbreaking, transgenre work—part detective story, part literary memoir, part imagined past—is intensely autobiographical and confessional. Proceeding sentence by sentence, city by city, and backwards in time, poet and essayist Kazim Ali details the struggle of coming of age between cultures, overcoming personal and family strictures to talk about private affairs and secrets long held. The text is comprised of sentences that alternate in time, ranging from discursive essay to memoir to prose poetry. Art, history, politics, geography, love, sexuality, writing, and religion, and the role silence plays in each, are its interwoven themes. Bright Felon is literally “autobiography” because the text itself becomes a form of writing the life, revealing secrets, and then, amid the shards and fragments of experience, dealing with the aftermath of such revelations. Bright Felon offers a new and active form of autobiography alongside such texts as Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s Dictee, Lyn Hejinian’s My Life, and Etel Adnan’s In the Heart of the Heart of Another Country. A reader’s companion is available at http://brightfelonreader.site.wesleyan.edu/
 

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Contents

Marble Hill
1
Carlisle
7
Beacon
14
Rhinebeck
20
Cairo
28
New York City
36
Paris
43
Corsica
49
Paris
56
New York City
62
Buffalo
68
Washington DC
74
Albany
79
Home
86
Barcelona an Epilogue
91
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About the author (2010)

KAZIM ALI is the author of two books of poetry, The Far Mosque (2004) and The Fortieth Day (2008). He is an assistant professor of creative writing at Oberlin College and teaches in the low-residency MFA program of the University of Southern Maine. He is one of the founding editors of Nightboat Books.

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