Sarah Ghazal Ali: "Theophanies", with aracelis girmay and Danusha Laméris

Jun 17 2024 - 7:00pm


On Monday, June 17th at 7pm, please join us at Pegasus Books Downtown to celebrate Bay Area poet Sarah Ghazal Ali's acclaimed debut collection, Theophanies (Alice James Books, 2024). Joined by fellow northern California poets aracelis girmay and Danusha Lameris, Ali will read from, discuss, and sign copies of her book, available for purchase at the event. It's sure to be a special night of poetry, conversation, and communitysee you there!

About the book:

The 2022 Alice James Award Editor's Choice

Moving between the scriptures of the Qur’an and the Bible, the poems in Sarah Ghazal Ali’s debut, Theophanies, explore the complexities and spectacles of gender, faith, and family by unraveling the age-old idea that seeing is believing. Navigating both scripture and culture, the poems in Theophanies work to spin miracles from the mundanities of desire and violence. Stitched through these poems is longing—for mothers, angels, and signs from the divine. Theophanies arises from the speaker’s tenuous grip on her faith while navigating the colonial legacy of Partition and inherited patriarchal expectations of womanhood.

"Ali's is one of the most sure-footed debuts I've had the pleasure to encounter in many years. Wrought with precision, control, and an astute humility before the wondrous, the profound and profane, these poems feel crafted from the sum total of history, then realized at the crest of the poet's matrix of experiences. A truly fearless and tender gem of a collection."
—Ocean Vuong

That god's words would be splintered into many forms and tongues is inevitable and appropriate. This book utilizes many forms, ancient and new, to contend with the long legacy of a multitude of spiritual traditions: the expulsion from the divine, living in gendered bodies, the fate of humans to live as mortal. There's music aplenty here to accompany difficult truths, and that is really all one can ask of god or garden or ghazal.”
—Kazim Ali

About the author and poet:

Sarah Ghazal Ali is the author of Theophanies (Alice James Books, 2024), selected as the Editors' Choice for the 2022 Alice James Award. A Stadler and Kundiman Fellow and recipient of The Sewanee Review poetry prize, her work has appeared in The American Poetry Review, The Kenyon Review, the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-A-Day series, and elsewhere. She is the poetry editor for West Branch and an incoming Assistant Professor of English at Macalester College.

About the poets in conversation:

aracelis girmay is an editor, teacher, and poet who makes work across genres, including picture books. Her most recent full-length collection is the black maria (BOA Editions, 2016). Recent work can be found in Astra, The Paris Review online, e-flux, and The Poetry Review. girmay is on the editorial board of the African Poetry Book Fund and is the editor-at-large of the Blessing the Boats Selections. She is the editor of So We Can Know: Writers of Color on Pregnancy, Loss, Abortion, and Birth (Haymarket Books, 2023). 

Danusha Laméris is a poet and essayist. Her third book, Blade by Blade, is forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press (September 10th, 2024). Her first book, The Moons of August (2014), was chosen by Naomi Shihab Nye as the winner of the Autumn House Press Poetry Prize and was a finalist for the Milt Kessler Book Award. Her second book, Bonfire Opera, (University of Pittsburgh Press), was a finalist for the 2021 Paterson Poetry Award and the winner of the Northern California Book Award in Poetry. Some of her work has been published in: The Best American Poetry, The New York Times, Orion, The American Poetry Review, The Gettysburg Review, Kenyon Review, Poetry Magazine, The Southern Review, Ploughshares, and Prairie Schooner.  As the 2020 Poet Laureate of Santa Cruz County, California, Laméris co-founded The Hive Poetry Collective: a radio show, podcast, and event hub. She is on the faculty of Pacific University’s Low-Residency MFA program.


Event address: 
Pegasus Books Downtown
2349 Shattuck Ave
Berkeley, CA 94704
Theophanies By Sarah Ghazal Ali Cover Image
ISBN: 9781949944587
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Alice James Books - January 16th, 2024

Event Category: 
Shattuck Location