kaya publishes books of the asian pacific diaspora

✚Other Authors

Kazim Ali

Kazim Ali’s books include five volumes of poetry, The Far Mosque, The Fortieth Day, Bright Felon, Sky Ward, and All One’s Blue: New and Selected Poems; three novels, Quinn’s Passage, The Disappearance of Seth and Wind Instrument; a collection of short stories, Uncle Sharif’s Life in Music, and three collections of essays, Orange Alert: Essays on Poetry, Art and the Architecture of Silence, Fasting for Ramadan and Resident Alien: On Border-crossing and the Undocumented Divine. He has translated books by Sohrab Sepehri, Ananda Devi and Marguerite Duras. He is an associate professor of Comparative Literature and the director of
the Creative Writing Program at Oberlin College.

The Secret Room

Kaya Press March 1, 2017

In Kazim Ali’s wildly inventive novel The Secret Room, written as musical score for a string quartet, he asks: How does one create a life of meaning in the face of loneliness and alienation from one’s own family, culture, or even sense of self? During the space of one single day, the lives of four people converge and diverge in ways they themselves may not even measure.

Sonia Chang, a violinist prepares for a concert. Rizwan Syed, a yoga teacher who gives so much to others, makes one last panicked attempt at reconciliation with his own family. Jody Merchant tries to balance a difficult and stressful work-life with a dream she abandoned long ago. Pratap Patel trudges through his life trying to ignore the pain he still feels at old losses.

Just like the real musical quality of a string quartet, these four characters weave in and out of one another’s experiences in a raw, fluid song that mimics the hidden lives that exist within us all.


“Here are new organizing principles; to allow ourselves to be organized by music; to be scored. This is a text that suggests not to worry about how to read it. Rather, it extends an invitation to allow the text to happen with us (and/or for us to happen with the text), and this is a Revolutionary Hermeneutics: to open to the experiences of pain and awe. Text as ambient drift we can move through (the same space where healing and magic happens). The way a line divines another, a voice divines a voice, and the emergent conversation, and how this conversation is a hidden music, the music we have been waiting for.”

– Selah Saterstrom, author of Slab and Ideal Suggestions: Essays in Divinatory Poetics

Kazim Ali news

Muscle Memory: Knock-Out Reading in San Diego

Friday, October 21 | 6 – 8 PM | Twiggs Bakery & Coffeehouse, 4590 Park Blvd, San Diego | Free! Register HERE. Jenny Liou will be joined by Kaya author Kazim Ali, and writers Brandon Som and Phuong T. Vuong for a knock-out reading in San Diego! Kazim Ali has been working in multiple genres […]

Kaya at Smithsonian APA Literature Festival

Kaya Press is excited to be one of the partners bringing you the inaugural Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Literature Festival held in Washington DC at the Smithsonian, The Phillips Collection, Library of Congress and the Dupont Underground from July 27 – 29, 2017. Check out the full schedule of events here. Kaya Press will be […]

Order Your Copy of The Secret Room Today

Kaya Press could not be more thrilled to announce the official publication of Kazim Ali’s innovative new novel, The Secret Room! In Ali’s wildly inventive book, written as musical score for a string quartet, the author asks: How does one create a life of meaning in the face of loneliness and alienation from one’s own family, culture, […]

Kazim Ali, Hari Alluri & Abeer Hoque @ Skylight Books!

Come join us for an evening at Skylight Books with authors from Kaya Press–Kazim Ali and Hari Alluri–with special guest Abeer Hoque! We are so excited to discuss and celebrate these authors’ new and upcoming books: The Secret Room, The Flayed City, and Olive Witch: a memoir. Kazim Ali’s books include five volumes of poetry, […]