Blessings in the New Year

I’m pleased to announce that my most recent poetry collection, The Heretic’s Hymnal: 99 New and Selected Poems is forthcoming in 2018 from Babylon Books / Balkan Press in 2018. The manuscript includes selections from my first two books (‘Returning to Awe’ & ‘last penny the sun’, both of which will be going out of print in early 2018). It also includes poems from ‘Dance Here’ (Origami Books, Lagos, Nigeria), as that book is not available in the United States. And, of course, new work, including some of the An-Nur series poems. I’m grateful to publisher William Bernhardt, for believing in these poems…and thank you, friends and readers, for your generous support and encouragement on the journey.

I’m also grateful to editor Firestone Feinburg of Verse-Virtual for including one of the poems from The Heretic’s Hymnal in the January 2018 issue of Verse-Virtual. You can read it here: Considering Natural Perfection. (This poem was inspired by a poem from Joseph Lisowski, who passed on in 2017. I remain humbled by and grateful for the gift of his friendship. May he rest in perfect peace.)


On Women

Richard Ali's Blog

Hung out with a friend of mine, Xu, today.

Learned again how, when you meet a woman, you should hold off from thinking first how pretty or intelligent she is.

Think first instead of her scars and where she’s been, what she’s seen, and how she’s still here, glorious and thriving.

These women are more resilient than we are. Salute to these women especially.

– Ra.

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What is “Konya Shamsrumi”? It is a new African Poetry Publishing House

Richard Ali's Blog


Konya Shamsrumi? Four weeks ago, Kechi NomuUmar Abubakar SidiFunmi GajiRasaq Malik Gbolahan and I quietly launched a new project, a publishing house called Konya Shamsrumi. We had formed ourselves into the KSR Collective, and you might have seen the hashtag #KSRCollectivehere and there. Konya Shamsrumi is a poetry publishing house.

Our dream is, simple, to—
1. Create great poetry content, ranging from interviews to essays to poems.
2. Publish 2 collections (Richard, Sidi) and three chapbooks (Kechi, Rasaq, Funmi).
3. Sell 2000 units of our poetry box set of all five.

We started with weekly interviews on the blog and have published interviews, called “5 Questions”, with Unoma Azuah, Peter Akinlabi, Alexis Teyie and DM Aderibigbe. Our website has had 2,580 unique visitors who have dropped by 4,953 times. We are so pleased, thank you thank you. And many thanks…

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There’s that other story
almost everybody knows, the one
where God tells Moses
he’s been picked to go

and deliver ultimatums
about slaves and freedom
to the Pharaoh.

Moses, less than enthusiastic:
not me, I’m not keen to be
a messenger, I can’t even
speak without a stutter.

God says: take your
brother with you, let him
do all the talking.

Summits with magicians,
demonstrations, altercations,
all the ordinary threats
plagues and developments

that one expects
in conferences like this
about oppression.

Finally they manage
to get out of there, even
though they have to walk
across a Sea to do it.

Finally, it’s over. Moses
has fulfilled his mission,
is looking forward to vacation.

He steps out of the crowd
and climbs a mountain,
ready for reward, hoping
for an airlift back to Eden.

At the summit there’s
a bush, on fire but not
burning, and the Voice

tells Moses to remove his
shoes. Moses does not
hesitate, he’s had enough
of missions and of walking.

He says: They’re down
there, Lord, the lot of them.
I’ve done just as you asked,

I went and got them, led
your children out of Egypt.
(And, by the way, nice timing
on that parting of the Sea.)

All done. You’re welcome.
And the Lord says: Moses,
you’re still on assignment,

I’m not finished with you


In the dream, I’m tired, filthy, caked with sweat-
salt, sea-salt, sand. My robe sticks to me like a reeking
second skin. God, you know how long a road it’s been.

I am so ready for a bath, a nap, a hidden garden safe
behind some wall, a night that needs no sentries, carries
only singing, bullfrogs, owls and whippoorwills,

a sleep that settles on me gently like a breath
of honeysuckle, a sleep that wraps me soft within
its petals for the night, a sleep that lasts.

Yes, I see the mountain, God. I even smell the smoke
that’s curling up from those unburnable green
leaves. Since we both know you’re also down here

in this dusty, rocky gully I will not be climbing
up there for a chat (although if it pleases, note I am
already barefoot), ready to revere and transfer

power, hand over to anyone who’s willing: all my
responsibilities, walking-stick and tablets
of commandments. I’m so glad it’s finally over. I am

ready, ready, ready for a rest. And the Lord says:
you may not be thrilled to hear this, but you’re
still on assignment.

I’m not finished with you


This is mine, my dream, my vision,
mine to change, so I move us from
the ancient Middle East back to
the living room, get down
the dictionary of etymology
and origins.

God is with me, hanging out
at three AM. We’re far beyond formality
and ceremony now. I find the word
I’m looking for, I point,
He reads aloud:

Enthusiasm. It means “the God within.”

It means, I say, if You insist I must
keep going, then You’re coming with me.
Thanks but no this time on some other
companion, no home health care person
and no prophet Aaron.

If You want this done, You’ll have
to come with me, You’re going to have
to wear me. Get some skin into the game.

–Laura M Kaminski (Halima Ayuba), with gratitude for another unexpected year

Happy New Poets for Peace

Poets for Peace


Welcome to the new home of the 2017 Poets for Peace Collaboration. The primary purpose of the blog is to host and administer this year’s collaborative effort to coincide with the United Nation’s International Day of Peace, Thursday, September 21, 2017. Note: (Their website has not been updated to reflect the coming year’s activity, but we assume it will be shortly).

In addition we plan to hold one or two smaller collaborations on subjects that fall under the umbrella of Peace such as, Empathy, and/or Compassion. These smaller collaborations will, we hope, help to create a sense of community and stimulate involvement in the wider collaboration that will begin in July.

We welcome all Creative Souls to share your work here., be it poetry, art, photography, or whatever your mode of communicating Peace may be. Video and audio files are limited by the nature of the plan…

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Book Release: ANCHORHOLD

Greetings, friends and fam! I’m delighted to announce that my latest (and final) full-length poetry collection, edited by Wale Owoade (of EXPOUND, The Strong Letters, and Bard Studio), is now available on Amazon! If you are located in the US and would like to have a signed copy, I will be glad to sign one and ship it to you for the same price ($9.00 US) that it is selling for on Amazon — just use the Contact Me form on this blog and let me know you’re interested. I can accept PayPal, checks, and promises too, if you’d like me to hold a signed copy for you. Here’s the link to Anchorhold.

The lovely cover art is from Robert Rhodes, the book design by Bard Studio, with a Foreword by j.lewis and an Introduction by JK Anowe…and a rather embarrassingly generous set of comments from colleagues in the poetry community who received advance copies of the manuscript.

This is the last collection of poetry I expect to publish, so to all of those who have followed me here on the Ark of Identity during this four-year poetry adventure: THANK YOU! Grateful for all the encouragement, inspiration, and support you’ve given me along the way. I’ll still keep the blog up, but the “Poetry Practice and Links” part of its title will be changing to reflect the next stage of the journey.