Press & Interviews

*One poem and an interview appeared in The South Townsville micro poetry journal on June 16, 2013.


the moon sacrificed her lights
to the blind. This generosity
took the shape of pure mystical
glowing lights emanating from
Sufis’ hearts.
Invisible lanterns revolving around
the pupils of the blind’s eyes
releasing infinite waves of light
rekindling their dimmed eyes
resembling dark caves,
various lights, a rainbow of lights—
a reference to the first moment
of revelation,
so limpid and crystalline.


TSTmpj:  "Generosity" has a delicate indefiniteness to it that strikes me as being unlike much Australian and American poetry I've read recently.  Would you say it is in a style that is currently being written in your part of the world?    How connected do you feel in this Age of the Internet to the world writing community, and how do you feel it's affecting how you write?

Ali Znaidi:  I agree with you that the place where the writer lives affects his/her writings. But writing oftentimes is affected by the writer’s mood or state of mind. I try to use a variety of styles and techniques when writing poetry. But the form or the style of the poem usually depends on my mood. I wrote “Generosity” at a night when I felt confused, and ideas were chaotically tumultuous and perplexed in my mind.

I strived for indefiniteness and vagueness just to reflect the dichotomy of light and darkness as human beings are in a constant war between the powers of light and the powers of darkness.

I think this dichotomy is what keeps us confused, and makes us oscillate between these two extremes. Each one of us is searching for that light either in his/her heart, in the other, in religion, in the arts, in nature, etc. The quest of light and noble values like justice, freedom, and generosity is something I have attempted to express in this piece.
I think this confusion in my mind generated “Generosity” in an indefinite style. This indefiniteness can encourage the reader to ask questions instead of me just asking them in the poem in a precise and straightforward style.

I think we sometimes need a certain indefiniteness in poetry because at the end a poem is not a scientific article that requires precision.

As for the second part of your question, the Internet is of paramount importance in this age. It is, in a way, a democratic tool that offers a venue for all voices to be heard. Thanks to the Internet, I have the opportunity to read a lot of international writings. Most presses and publishing houses in Tunisia publish creative works either in Arabic or French. So I am really very grateful for the Internet for this exposure, for instance, in less than 3 months I get published in more than 11 ezines. I seize this opportunity to thank Russell Streur, The Camel Saloon editor, who was the first to publish a work of mine, and all editors who published some of my works. Without the Internet I wouldn’t be given the chance to be published, especially in my case as a nonnative speaker of English. So I feel lucky to be connected in this Age of the Internet to the world writing community. For example, I am a member of a creative writing site: This site can be considered as a laboratory or an online workshop enabling members to post their writings, discuss, and interact with each other. Besides, reading established writers’ works and interacting with editors through the process of submission/rejection or acceptance affect, in a way, my writings.


TSTmpj:  What is it like being a poet in Tunisia?  Would you care to share some thoughts on the place of poetry in Tunisian society today?

Ali Znaidi:  Poetry is deeply rooted in Tunisian culture like any Arab country. Along their history Arabs are mostly known for their poetry. Tunisia is the land of such great poets as Abul Hassan Al Houssari, Ibn Rachiq, and in the modern era the international poet Aboul-Qacem Echebbi. However, poetry ceases to be that influential art these days due to social, economic, and cultural factors. Besides, readers tend toward reading more prose at the expense of poetry.  Despite this fact, there are some established names, and even some of them participate in international poetry festivals.

Being a poet in Tunisia means to struggle to get exposure because it is very tough when it comes to publishing. More and more poets are using modern technology, and social media to carve a name before being able to publish some books.


TSTmpj:  What do you wish to achieve with your writing in the future?

Ali Znaidi:  Being an established writer has haunted me since my childhood. I dreamt of being a well-known Arab writer. But this dream; to borrow Langston Hughes’ expression, festered due to certain circumstances. This dream revived when I started studying English literature at university. Exposure to English literature triggered me to resume writing, but once again I stopped writing. 2012 is a turning point in my writing life as I come out of the closet and start submitting to many ezines. Getting published here and there is encouraging me to work more on my texts. I also aspire to translate some Tunisian writings and poetry into English.

What I wish to achieve with my writing, if life permits, is to be able to leave a certain trace after my death. The idea of reaching a reader with my work after one hundred years or so would make me feel good in my grave.

Bio Note

Ali Znaidi lives in Redeyef, Tunisia. He writes poetry and has an interest in literature, languages, and literary translation.

You can read the original source here.


*On my poem “Of Anger & Phosphate Vomit”:

Dave Higgins, owner of the blog Davetopia.Fragments of a Curious Mind was good enough to review the zine Too Obscene, edited by Jeremiah Walton, in which my poem “Of Anger & Phosphate Vomit” appeared. He commented on my poem saying, “This rejection of poetry as a genteel pursuit is clearest in Of Anger & Phosphate Vomit which moves beyond free verse into a new language where white space forms words, cased in future punctuation.”

The article is titled “Too Obscene, ed Jeremiah Walton,” and appeared on July 5th, 2013.

This is the article in full:

The works in Too Obscene are united by their portrayal of those parts of life usually deemed unpleasant or ugly. However the poems themselves show that, like the sheen of an oil slick, filthy and beautiful are not mutually exclusive.

Too Obscene’s mission is to provide a home to poetry and writing deemed “too obscene” for publication by other presses and blogs. This does not mean that poems that said “fuck” every other line were accepted. Too Obscene saught(sic) writing, obscene in nature, that had literary merit, not poorly exececuted(sic) shock value.
-About Too Obscene

This collection of 25 poems contains work by Eric Karl Anderson, Holden Baker, Vincent William Brady, Nathan Burley, Nathan Christensen, Jackie Cope, Bill Dozer, Scott Emerson, Myriam Gurba, Colin James, klipschutz, Colin Lichen, Brian Rosenberger, Ben John Smith, Jeff Walt, Zarina Zabrisky, Ali Znaidi along with art by Karina Bush and Jon Henry.
As with other Nostrovia publications these poems are modern voices, filled with jagged pulsing rhythms, and designed to be spoken loudly not read in silence. This rejection of poetry as a genteel pursuit is clearest in Of Anger & Phosphate Vomit which moves beyond free verse into a new language where white space forms words, cased in future punctuation.
With bodily functions being one of the most concealed and euphemised aspects of polite society it is no surprise to find the lavatorial squatting throughout the collection. This politeness is most clearly satirised in Literature of the Latrine, which takes the reader through a series of social interactions where a toilet is used for anything but its intended purpose.
Equally prominent is our abhorrence of talking openly about sex: He Aimed For The Bull’s-eye uses slang references to anal sex to build a world of colour and music, while the detachable genitalia of Fire Drill at the Sexual Health Clinic reminds the reader of how we objectify sexual behaviour rather than treat it as a part of our personalities and actions.
This separation of parts of ourselves is explored further in both Man Seeking Nail and Mermaid which take the opposing viewpoints of judgemental observer and secret performer but both show how acts are disgusting or not based on our assumptions and contexts and not the acts themselves.
The collection is, as the Introduction suggests, more than just bodily functions. Poems such as Crucified For Cthulhu and Gilbert & George set pop culture figures among traditional images then challenge the reader to explain why something that moves them is offensive.
I enjoyed the use of language in this collection, and was challenged to face my own unconscious prejudices. I would recommend it to readers who are ready to examine their boundaries and preconceptions.
I received a free advance copy of this collection. It is now available from through Payhip and Scribd.

You can read the original source here


*An interview with me appeared in Ppigpenn on December 27, 2013. Many thanks to editor Catfish McDaris for interviewing me.



Ali Znaidi

Age? (Feel free to ignore this question completely)

Born on 27/10/1977


-Parents, three brothers, two sisters.
-As for my marital status, I’m still single.


Redeyef, Gafsa, Tunisia.

It’s a mining town in the south-west of Tunisia. It dates back to the Capsian era. Its economy is based on phosphate. Some cultural events are held from time to time. Besides, some poetry readings (in Arabic language) are performed by local poets or/and by poets from other regions of the country especially during festivals.

How long have you been writing?

I have been writing since an early age in Arabic which is my mother tongue. Then, I switched into English as a medium for creative writing. But, to be honest, I have been writing good things since my graduation with a BA in Anglo-American Studies.

Do you have a specific writing style?

No, but I find myself inclined to experimentation.

Do you write as a career?

No, but I hope to do so in the future.

Do you write full-time?

I write part-time.

What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment as a writer?

Although I am not a native speaker of English, my work (originally written in English) has appeared in numerous notable publications since I have begun submitting.

What is your ultimate goal as a writer?

My ultimate goal as a writer is to be able to leave a certain trace after my death. The idea of    reaching a reader with my work after one hundred years or so would make me feel good in my grave.

What is your greatest challenge as a writer?

My greatest challenge is writer’s block.

What projects of yours have been recently published?

Some of my poems have been recently published in MetazanYgdrasilAltpoeticsThe Open Mouse,Call & Response ZineEgoPHobiaThe Piker Press, and The Kitchen Poet (Underground Books).

What are you currently working on and what inspired this work?

I am currently working on poems about Sappho. I hope to write as many poems as I can about this great poetess, if life and energy permit.

Where can we find your work?

Most of it is slumbering on the Internet. Just a click on will wake it up.

How often do you write?

For the time being I write regularly.

How do you react to rejections?

Rejections are part of the writing/submitting process. I accept rejections with fair play, if I can say so, but what annoys me is when an editor keeps my texts for more than 8 months or so then rejects them.

Rejection can be positive in a way because it permits you to work on the text again, polish it and come up with a fresh version. I did revise many rejected texts and submitted them again and they were published.

How do you react when one of your submissions is accepted for publication?

An acceptance email always brightens my mood.

What is your best piece of advice on how to stay sane as a writer?

Well, just be yourself and keep sane! Gradually, you will reach total insanity if you pretend to be insane. The problem lies in pretence.

What is your favorite book?

Many. But let me say F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby as you asked about just one book.

Who is your favorite author?

Many. But let me say Walt Whitman as you asked about just one author.

If you could have dinner with one fictional character, who would it be and why?

I would love to have dinner with Lady Macbeth (although she is considered an evil character) because she is an enigmatic character. Besides, I would like to explore the darkened secrets of her seduction and to discover the mechanisms lying behind her genius & power.         

What is the greatest occupational hazard for a writer?

If I understand ‘hazard’ as a possible source of danger, I would say censorship and surveillance. And if I understand ‘hazard’ as a chance and luck, I would say a publishing contract from a well-known publishing house.

What is your favorite word?

What makes you laugh?

It depends on the situation and the mood.

What makes you cry?

Memories, especially good ones.

What is your preferred drink while you write?

Coffee, preferably black.

Beach or Mountains?

Beach, although I live in a mining town surrounded by mountains.

Cats or Dogs?


The Beatles or The Rolling Stones?

The Beatles.

Jimi Hendrix or Frank Sinatra?

Frank Sinatra. (Especially his song “Strangers In The Night”)

Shakespeare or Bukowski?


Please provide as much or as little of the following information as you’d like.

Personal website/blog:

Facebook profile or page: I have none for the time being.

Twitter profile: @AliZnaidi
Other page(s) or profile(s):

 Books for sale and/or press

Experimental Ruminations-Fowlpox Press (Canada)-A free PDF download.
Moon’s Cloth Embroidered with Poems -Origami Poems Project (USA)-A free PDF download.

Anything you’d like to share about your country, its people, or native animals?

Well, Tunisia has a diverse fauna and flora. It is full of animals, insects, and birds.
There are many dangerous snakes especially in the desert which is a part of the African Sahara. Horned vipers and scorpions abound in the Sahara. Insects include the standard crawling insects, as well as flies and biting insects such as mosquitoes. As a Mediterranean country Tunisia hosts a rich variety of species. You can find camels, coyotes, jackals, wild boar, feral water buffalo and several species of gazelle. You can also find the scimitar oryx. The sleeved mouflon is found in the mountains. Leopards used to exist in Tunisia, but they are extinct now. Other smaller mammals include the fennec fox, the lynx, the red squirrel, and the dormouse. Reptiles include a variety of tortoises. There is also a variety of lizards, including geckos, wall lizards, sand racers, sand swimmers and chameleons.
As for birds, we can mention egrets, herons, white storks, spoonbills, greater flamingoes, geese, waders and white-headed ducks. Birds of prey include long- legged buzzards, black-shouldered kites, ospreys, and eagles. Desert areas have coursers, brown-necked ravens, desert warblers, desert sparrows, houbara bustard and a variety of larks.
As for marine creatures, we have crustaceans, mollusks, lobsters, and crabs. Some of the famous fish include sardines, anchovies, tuna, and mackerel.


*Public Holidays:
-January, 1st: New Year’s Day.
-January, 14th: Revolution and Youth Day.
-March, 20th: Independence Day.
-April, 9th: Martyrs’ Day.
-May, 1st: Labour Day.
-July, 25th: Republic Day.
-August, 13th: Women’s Day.
-October, 15th: Evacuation Day.

*Religious Holidays (They are scheduled according to the lunar calendar):
- The Mouled (The Prophet's Birthday)
-Eid al-Fitr (End of Ramadan)
-Eid al-Idha (Feast of the Sacrifice)
-Hegire (Islamic New Year)

Food for Special Occasions?

-Molukhia (Jew's mallow) with meat to have a green year. It is eaten on the Hegire Day.
-Malsouka (brik) a fried dough stuffed with tuna and an egg) & tajin (like a frittata or a quiche) are eaten especially during Ramadan.
-Asida (a sweet gruel pudding with honey or sugar and olive oil). It is eaten on the Mouled Day.
-Boiled fava beans, baklawa (layers of thin pastry interspersed with ground pine nuts, almonds, hazelnuts and pistachios, brushed in golden butter, baked and dipped in honey syrup), & samsa (layers of thin pastry alternated with layers of ground roast almonds, and sesame seeds, baked in lemon and rosewater syrup). They are eaten on Eid al-Fitr (End of Ramadan).
-Couscous with lamb and osbane (pieces of animal gut stuffed with meat and offal. They are eaten on Eid al-Idha (Feast of the Sacrifice).

Everyday Food?

Tunisian food is quite spicy:
-Couscous, the national dish of Tunisia.
-Mechouia hot salad (Grilled hot salad).
-Shorba (soups).
-Slata (salads).
-Marqua (stews).
-Rishta (pastas).
-Kifta (ground meat).
-Kaak (pastries).
-Gnawiya (gombos).
-Merguez (lamb sausage).
-Lamb Stew: A simple stew of lamb cooked with vegetables.
-Chakchouka: A ragout similar to ratatouille with chickpeas, tomatoes, peppers, garlic and onions, served with a poached egg.
-Felfel Mahchi: Sweet peppers stuffed with meat, usually lamb, and served with harissa sauce.
-Fricassé: A tiny sandwich with tuna, harissa, olives and olive oil.
-Houria: Cooked carrot salad.
-Khobz Tabouna: Traditional oven-baked bread. Tunisian Khobz Tabouna is not a flat or pita like bread.
-Lablabi: Rich garlicky soup made with chickpeas.
-Masfouf: A sweetened couscous.
-Oujja: Scrambled egg dish made of tomatoes and mild green chillies supplemented with various meats and harissa.
-Tunisian Salad: Diced cucumber, peppers, tomatoes, onions and seasoned with olive oil.
-Torshi; Turnips marinated with lime juice.
- Harissa is a traditional Tunisian hot chilli paste.

You can read the original source here.


*Two poems and an interview appeared in Heard Magzine on January 29, 2014.

Ali Znaidi

Tunisian poet Ali Znaidi’s poems rise up like flowers from the challenges he has faced as a writer. Now in full bloom, his work has been published numerous times with a new chapbook forthcoming. His craft is skillful and inventive and I sense a philosopher peeking out from behind his words. He writes in English as if it was his mother tongue, but the mystical voice of his ancestral gift cannot be hidden.

Read on to enjoy his poetry and our interview.

I Cut the Glass

As the inclement
storms unearth
the ground
I cut the grass, the glass
until I end up
w/ tiny stones.
— Ink crystallized.


   in a 

The Interview:
Redefining beauty with Ali Znaidi.

Give me a little glimpse into the life of a poet in Tunisia.

Poetry is deeply rooted in Tunisian culture like any other Arab country because along their history Arabs are mostly known for their poetry. But, nowadays poetry is losing ground for other means of culture, especially music and visual media. Besides, prose is in the process of gaining some momentum in the cultural scene at the expense of poetry. This has an impact on the life of a poet in Tunisia.  Despite this fact, there are some established names, and even some of them participate in international poetry festivals and their poems are translated into some other languages.

Being a poet in Tunisia means to struggle because most poets here (and I assume this fact is applicable, in a way or another, in other parts of the world) do other jobs for a living because they cannot pay the bills with their writings and talent. Besides, being a poet in Tunisia means to make a strenuous effort to get exposure because it is very competitive when it comes to publishing. More and more poets are using modern technology to carve a name before being able to publish their first book or collection.

In Tunisia being a poet who writes in another language rather than Arabic or French is another story because most publishing houses publish creative works either in Arabic or French.  I am among a couple of names (which are counted on the fingers) who write poetry in English. So the struggle would be doubled. But, thanks to the Internet, I have the opportunity to be published in more than one hundred international magazines since I have been submitting, which is in itself a great accomplishment (and a record if I can say so), especially in my case as a nonnative speaker of English.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would that be and why?

I cannot name a place per se, but if I could live anywhere in the world I would choose a place where nature and especially people are almost all of the time friendly. Besides, I love a place that gives paramount importance to human beings through high standards of living and human rights which means an eradication of injustice, violence, and deprivation. Is there such a place? Give me some suggestions, please!

I say poetry is the language of the soul, what does poetry mean to you?

I consider poetry as a kind of a panacea. I write to heal my wounds and embellish my scars. Every word in a poem functions as an aspirin or a pill.

What do you find beautiful?

I find beauty in almost everything. But this depends most of the time on my mood. For instance, if I wake up on a good mood I find the sunrise very beautiful, a scene that has no beauty at all if I wake up perplexed. When in good mood, I can find beauty even in the cracks of a wall.

Besides, the notions of beauty and ugliness are being redefined. Take the example of Umberto Eco and his editions of two books, namely On Beauty and On Ugliness. So these latest theories and the “new” environments (“New”: due to some wars, global warming, and the transformations of many landscapes here and there) have an impact on our perceptions of beauty.

What are your interests aside from writing?

Apart from writing, I have a penchant for translation and blogging. Besides, I am an avid reader of anything related to alternative medicine. I am also a sucker for 80’s music.

Would you share with me about the poetry you have written in Arabic? How does it differ in its heart from your English writing?

Being a writer has haunted me since my childhood. I dreamt of being an established Arab writer. So, I started writing some poems and prose notes in Arabic when I was in high school. But this dream stopped due to certain circumstances. This dream revived when I started studying English literature at university. Exposure to English literature triggered me to resume writing. So I started writing in Arabic and English. But once again I stopped writing. (All those writings were just attempts and no word of them was published)
. 2012 was a turning point in my writing life as I came out of the closet and started writing solely in English and submitting to many ezines. Getting published here and there gave me the impetus to work more on my texts.

Writing in another language differs from writing in one’s mother tongue. The writer must struggle to appear as natural as a native speaker of that target language. In my case, I rely on a lot of readings to acquire “an English rhetoric,” something which would keep the flow going.

Thank you so much for the honor of featuring your work! What may we look forward to seein
g from you next?

I am looking forward to the publication of my chapbook Taste of the Edge, which is forthcoming from 
Kind of a Hurricane Press (USA). I also have a short-short fiction manuscript waiting for a publisher. Besides, I have some little projects simmering in my mind.

Thank you for this interview. Thank you very much for giving me this opportunity to express myself. Best wishes for you, Annie Avery and for your magazine, Heard Magzine!

Ali Znaidi (b.1977) lives in Redeyef, Tunisia where he teaches English. His work has appeared in Mad Swirl, Stride Magazine, Red Fez, BlazeVox, Otoliths, streetcake, & elsewhere. His debut poetry chapbook Experimental Ruminations was published in September 2012 by Fowlpox Press (Canada). From time to time he blogs at – and tweets at @AliZnaidi.

You can read the original source here.


*On my poems “A Desert Dream,” “Nothingness,” & “Complexes inside Us”:

The crew of Synchronized Chaos was good enough to give a little review of my poems “A Desert Dream,” “Nothingness,” & “Complexes inside Us” in the editorial of the March (2014) issue of Synchronized Chaos.

This is what they said:

Tunisian writer Ali Znaidi offers up a study in contrasts, presenting a lively desert next to a depiction of nothingness. Unlike the common view of the desert as barren, he portrays a landscape full of all sorts of life, perhaps stronger due to their struggle to survive in the harsh environment.

Znaidi’s final poem reminds readers that people often carry within them a multitude of contradictions. When we, ourselves, are complex, it seems improbable to expect consistency and stability from the external environment.

You can read the original source here


*A one-question e-interview with me appeared in Dankland’s blog on April 07, 2014.

Chris Dankland, one of the major Alt Lit (Alternative Literature) names, was good enough to publish a brief e-correspondence with me in his blog on April 07, 2014.

This is the e-interview in full.

I had a brief correspondence with a writer named Ali Znaidi — his website is here— and this is another website he runs about Tunisian literature

He translated this article about literary censorship in Tunisia, where he lives — the government requires writers to submit their works for government approval before they can be published aka a ‘legal deposit’

I don’t have anything particularly intelligent to say about this because I don’t know that much about it — but it’s a good reminder of some of the political oppression that writers around the world have to deal with

I asked Ali some questions about the legal deposit situation, and this is how he described it:

The legal deposit issue in Tunisia is very complex. Before the revolution it was intended to control writers, artists, & thinkers and to make sure that the writings or the pieces of art do not criticise the political system, the former president, and his family. Besides, works that harshly criticize religion were banned not to stir the people’s anger. After the revolution some want to annul this law and other want to keep it. So, it is really a controversial issue. After the revolution political writings are in a way tolerated. But writing harshly about religion and writing about open sex are still in a way a target of censorship.,

As for publishing something online, you can publish whatever you want because which means the legal deposit is not still applied for online publishing. But, you have to assume your responsibility morally and legally if the things you published go at odds with the mainstream thinking and morals.

You can read the original source here.


*On my poems “Forgotton Territories,” “Ctrl,” & “a steamy date w/ Sappho as a cosmogonist”:

Beach Sloth was good enough to review the first issue of Zoomoozophone Review, a new zine edited by Matt Margo, in which my poems “Forgotton Territories,” “Ctrl,” & “a steamy date w/ Sappho as a cosmogonist” appeared.

He commented on my poems saying, “Ali Znaidi tries to find light in lanterns and fails. Nobody bothered putting the candle wick. Post-punk enjoys a crow’s caw. Singers of post-punk tend to like their livelihood happy to have avoided the original punk which is a harder scene. Greyhounds prey on people without any other options. Overtures begin after everything else has become exhausted.”

This is the article in full. It is divided in 6 parts.

 Zoomoozophone Review picked the best for its first inaugural batch. Matt Margo is the brains behind the operation. With over one hundred pages it is obvious he wracked his mind over every possible piece. Thanks to his hard work he has brought forth a collection that can stand the test of time. Even though the collection did not study for the test of time it is sure to do fine. 

                Howie Good documents heart beats. A simple question about the next Wisconsin makes sense. Inward stares say more than words ever could. Zombies like the introspective nature it helps them succeed at their goal for brains. Simplified spelling allows zombies to communicate via the Internet, a world set up for humans who gave up on reality long ago. Humans are jigsaw puzzles in love with beauty hence their propensity for mirrors. 

                Glen Armstrong knows myth hates being thrown a curveball. From long ago myth has difficultly handling new things preferring to live in the old. Leaky fountain pens make any sort of clothing more interesting; that is their job and they do it with pride. Clothing runs on juice because clothing is in it to win it. 

                I’m here! Check my style out. 

                Volodymyr Bilyk asks to turn the urn and tutu too. Dance is a kind of death hence the need for a dead dance to be successfully cremated. Some things are better off dead. 

                 Rhoda Penmarq wants the reader to experience quietude. Such things are hard to come by in a world of sound. The sounds dominate everything. Life with socks is a life worth living. A train is easily missed. Cities make certain everyone misses a train at some point. Punctuality has nothing to do with it. With a schedule chance becomes a serious thing. 

                Chuck Leary has been everything that anybody could ever want to be. From his years of experience he knows the truth about penetration. Military advisers use penetration in a different way than the layperson does, and boy does the layperson know about everything. 

                Steve Klepetar desires to see where the stars grew. That is an impossible task. Where a star grows is in the heart of the universe. Millions of years pass by before the star’s light is visible to the foolish creatures below on a green-blue orb. Ladders of smoke try to keep the stars in their correct positions placing them according to their power. 

                Josh Friedlander describes the live of a special artist. For some the world is not enough. More than a credo it is a way of life for others. Artists struggle their entire lives hoping to make an impact. Years later their lofty goals are achieved. The more suffering an artist goes through the more valuable their work becomes. 

                Alexandra Naughton understands that a bridge looks like a dinosaur. Travel is as ancient as a dinosaur. Where people need to go is an afterthought. Sweetness of a person can create cavities after the sugar high is gone. Inquisitive natures are torn down for parking lots. Every assumption needs a place to park itself. 

                Like the dinosaurs many think that online literature, the experimental best kind will go extinct someday. Fortunately that is far from the case judging from the epic batch coming out of the eyes and ears of writers across the world. For this is going to be a great event that continues…right now!

You can read the original here or here.

All good things come to an end. The end in this case is incredibly far away. With so many artists these words were born to run. Pages and pages are filled with running words happy to frolic freely in the springtime air. 

                Wayne Mason leaks words through his pores. Psychic sweat is meant to cool off the conscious being. If somebody gives their two cents for a penny dream the penny dream investment becomes a profitable enterprise. Longing to hear the voice of words is difficult. Reading gives half the meaning keeping the other half for the writer. Dissonance is a necessary part of language. Art is about death. Any other meaning is accidental. Every piece created on behalf of art is an attempt at immortality. Culture wars enjoy the narration by esteemed cultural warriors, the sorts that fight with their understanding of a world they helped to create. 

                Patrick Trotti tries to let go. When an important person passes away those closest try to go on however difficult it may be. For a while the person’s imprint lasts on the mind. Nobody knows how to explain to others just how important the person was on their lives, they just wouldn’t understand. 

                Erik Moshe releases his inner nerd following the advice of a boy. A traffic light gets irritated by the scratching at the surface. Stopping everyone to re-examine its life takes a few moments. Poor tectonic boy gets graded on his efforts at school. Civics works best for the geographically defined creature. Homeland Security wants to control the Earth yet it only works for a large segment of a relatively minor continent. 

                Rachel Hyman hides. Such things are usual for the changing of the seasons. Journeys into the mind occur when the world is frozen. With sand the frozen wasteland gains a little bit of traction. After the frozen ground thaws the sand becomes a beach for everyone to enjoy. 

                Rachel Hyman and Justin Carter watch the explosion at the old saw mill down yonder by the river. Wood shavings mark the end of the industrial area. Abstract art comes into the old saw mill converted successfully into lofts for those longing for a simpler time when things were equal. The deficiency in art happens after reality has worn out its welcome and the only thing stomachs can handle is abstraction. 

                Austin Islam enjoys Honey Nut Cheerios like Omar from the hit series “The Wire”. Every bowl is full of honeyed words. Yes people ought to be more assertive. The lives they lead are theirs. Nobody else can help them live it up. Cigarettes are wastes of cash. Within that there is a hierarchy of things that vary in taste. Every year the age becomes more or less vital. Youth is vital to the world without it there can never be change. At least youth has the opportunity to have a cheese cake every now and again, remembering the time they went to a gas station to be real. Hotel lobbies keep travelers occupied. Employees at a hotel are aware of everything of traveling. Kids traveling are among the worst sorts of travelers, wanting to make connections with people who would prefer to be left alone. Life is like that: wanting to include and exclude equally. 

                “This section is over. Expect the next section to follow immediately.” – Austin Islam

You can read the original here or here.

 Such a hard day and such a long night must have been spent putting this all together. Matt Margo never sleeps. He edits. He collects. With the end of the first day of coverage (this is going to be a multi-day affair to remember) keep in mind there are plenty of pages to check out, many new artists to explore. 

                Brooke Michelle Robinson closes the door to High School. That is the first step. Souls like being full of color and coral are beautiful in the watery light. Horses would eat donuts if they could they are sick of the apples somebody told them they liked. Doorknobs assist the world with closing out a room to the outside realm. Fresno is a place people mention all the time yet few ever see its majestic glory. Hurrying to the fantasy feast is of the utmost important. People got to eat and a fantasy involves a feasting frenzy. Cute ones with clipboards sit on the sidelines taking great notes about the world they want to live in. 

                Tamara Neufeld sends her conversations to a special someone. She waits a day or so to avoid ruining a school day. Deep in the school life requires a great amount of concentration. Life of sexuality needs a great amount of proximity. Nobody enjoys sex from far away. Eyes come home at night after long days of staring at things. Absorbing information is a livelihood and people make millions of dollars knowing the right things. 

                Caleb Bouchard dreams of going to church. Obviously Caleb Bouchard needs to improve upon his wholesome subconscious. He gets to listen to some music in church hopefully earlier Guns N’ Roses kind of stuff. Bob Dylan might not suit everybody’s taste it takes a while to really get into him. In reality Caleb Bouchard watches old people, yet another sign he may need to increase the adrenaline rush of his life. 

                Arlo Brooks becomes a jar. To break the spell the jar has over him he goes all Winnie the Pooh on it getting his head stuck in it. Such a terrible headspace involves head break. By using molasses one can slowdown the pace of their lives. Lives are meant to be lived slowly. When lives move too quickly they are short. Lives that move too slowly can get rather dreary. 

                Colin James goes to rock camp. Such a cruel fate for anyone longing to be a rocker, the rock camp used to mine actual rocks. Due to the decrease in mineral wealth across the world people have turned to making culture in hopes that cultural significance will distract from gradually decreasing standards of living. 

                Anca Mihaela tempts others to find sense. They find none. With eyes wide shut they try to embody the meaning of their words. Leapt up on eyelid screens they understand their words shall live on far longer than they could have possibly imagined. 

                Penny Goring meets a special someone in a doorway. They flirt. They fuck. Modern life requires a modern fuck. Love is poetry. Fucking is something entirely different. A few thoughts go into fucking like “when do I get to fuck” and “cool, I am fucking now”. Physical sensation is as important as intellectual. Both are nice to have but both are hard to have. It is one or the other the smell stench and London waiting to see everything the day after a lay-by. 

                Honestly I would be doing the world a great disservice by not ending it with one of my all-time favorite writers, Penny Goring. One day I hope to meet Penny Goring and discuss the important things in life. The work of Penny Goring is quite frankly stunning. While she only has one piece in here the benefit of the collection is that there are plenty more pieces to explore, on day two of this extensive-ass coverage.

You can read the original here or here.

  Day two of the continuing coverage that is Zoomoozophone Review! Yes everyone ought to be excited. This is culture being made free of charge to the masses. Of course the masses need to know where to look. With this little collection (well not little like over a hundred pages) Matt Margo introduces new readers to a new world. 

                Kell Gallery sleeps on a sofa. Oh yes that is the life of New York. A moment spent on the subway is wasted. Hence people find themselves on couches all of the time. People sleep together in New York to huddle for warmth. Wet concrete in a concrete jungle sounds about right. Breakfasts of it all require kid gloves to handle the delicacy of the situation. 

                Hugh Tribbey sees soiled cops. Unfortunately cops are not always very good with bladder control. Put into the line of fire they often get worried, overly so. Trampled leaves give good clues to the noses on the grindstone but too much nose results in a nasty nosebleed. Sometimes it is best to ignore the clues and leave it for another shoe. Crushed popcorn happens frequently with too much want. Animated shorts require a necessary movie-going experience. Anger nightmares are yellow before they get red with violence. Cowardice creeps in hoping to move the mind out of harm’s way. 

                Jeff Harrison augers a quarantine for an O. Yes any boring would tend to make an O shape. The drill bit determines the size of the quarantine. People require a way to get away from themselves. A government bash is something to avoid. Calmness comes from the bash the aftereffect. Words find themselves into cramped quarters all of the time yet manages to make tender to the touch, heads brought fully into the clouds. 

                John Pursch explores everything. Offal is delivered to a special someone’s door. They use their ear with great skill. Chia’s are campy and require croutons for they are living, growing salads. Streams join into the mix showing off the beauty of a mechanical hum. Individuals take great pride in the quality of their mocking. An art form to some the better the string the stronger it can bring others together. The true way to bring people together is to insult them. 

                 Kushal Poddar awakes from a TV set dream. That is an antiquated dream as the sloth of TV makes way for the sloth of the Internet. Coffee is important to keep the dreams at bay focusing on the present. Disruptions occur with startlingly frequency in the world. 

                John Rogers looks for the red handed and finds them living in the cloud. Above the clouds John Rogers lives in the cloud. He looks out a window and sees the head stuck in the clouds. Long ago those people would have been chastised. Now they are celebrated. He is in love with the skin he cannot touch. One day he will be able to but not today. 

                Alexander Limarev reassures readers that they might find death. Usually death finds people. Death is nice that way. Blues happen in the sky all the time to try and prevent others from suffering. To date that has not stopped a single bad thought. 

                Thanks to the nice comforting image of death it is time to end this section. Next up on the wonderful agenda is the greatness that is eating an orange.

You can read the original here or here.

 As promised the review begins with an orange. Those unaware of what an orange is it is more than a color, it is a fruit. People who eat oranges live longer and healthier lives. This information has been statistically proven by statistics that refuse to reveal themselves. Statistics enjoy lying to people. And people foolishly accept them for what they are. 

                Susan Sweetland Garay eats an orange. Her body replaces blood. Life moves forward. Outside the rain replenishes the ground with its unique take on rhythm and patterns. Everyone is an animal in their own special way. Rain is always on the way even during the worst possible droughts. Winter encourages indoor comfort as the outsides are ravaged. 

                Daniela Voicu celebrates the spring vampires. Unlike the winter vampires who have it so easy spring vampires have fewer hours in the day to feed. Such things are problematic. The glorious colors of the flowers make for far nicer trips out for blood. Wounds from childhood take a toll on life. A few people fail to recover from the injuries and insults of childhood. Some learn from the experience. Spring tries to get old and is eaten alive by the seasons that surround it. 

                Manuel Arturo Abreau lives in a cycle that is hard to break. Life is full of possibilities and many of them are negative. Externalities are the things that press down on people. Desire hurts too. Proving existence takes too long, it takes a lifetime. By the time someone is ready to prove existence they are offed. That happens all the time and it is called death. The moon holds sin for everybody because bad behavior is rewarded in darkness. 

                John De Herrera talks about two emotions that form nice avenues. Every other emotion stems from the two. Cul-De-Sacs are those confused emotions that have difficultly figuring out what they are for besides serving as a way to increase property values. God sits on the tip of the tongue hoping to get transformed into new galaxies. 

                Felino A. Soriano associates embarrassment brands with fear through singing. A jazz duo forms around the heliocentric skies. Looking up at the skies the skies confess to everything because they are nothing and have nothing to hide. Cycles of demonstration last until something is sold. 

                Nicholas Bon puts a tarp on the sky to keep it dry. Evaporation fails with it. Bird trades are commonly made. Individuals make serious amounts of money via the bird trade. 

                A. Razor stays with the pack because of wounding. Injury makes a person weaker not stronger. Whoever said stronger was trying to make the weaker feel better about their plight. Either that or it was some ruined metaphor about failing. Marvels hide from broken souls because the broken souls owe too much. 

                Joe Bussiere enjoys his Big Comfy Couch. Joe Bussiere grew up as a Canadian child before he reached his peak adulthood. He knows the world is amazing and beautiful. Eyesight lets him know that much. Laughing or crying are two things that share a lot of similarities. Every day is the same for Joe Bussiere he likes Facebook and presses the button to indicate it. 

                Ending with a Canadian is tough work. Many people around the world are big into Canada. Canadians are big into Canada via it being the second largest country in the world. Sure Russia beats Canada in terms of sheer landmass, but Russia only has that “Weird Russia” movement. Canada has Post-Rock so Canada has a bit more commercial appeal. Hopefully with the upcoming epic finale Zoomoozophone Review can truly show the beauty of what it means to be a geographically limitless entity on the Internet.

You can read the original here or here.

Unfortunately like all good several day long reviews, this too must end. And boy what an ending it is! With so many writers contributing it is important to remember exactly what they are writing for: they write for everyone and no one. Audience comes after a writer has written for a couple of years. The writer who has an instant audience with their first word isn’t much of a writer, more of a person forcing their opinion onto others. Writers find audiences under rocks, in between the crannies of the world. Matt Margo simply polished up some of those rocks and let them loose onto a semi-suspecting public. 

                Ali Znaidi tries to find light in lanterns and fails. Nobody bothered putting the candle wick. Post-punk enjoys a crow’s caw. Singers of post-punk tend to like their livelihood happy to have avoided the original punk which is a harder scene. Greyhounds prey on people without any other options. Overtures begin after everything else has become exhausted. 

                Billy Bob Beamer shares heart. Heart breaks up depending on how it is feeling. The feeling is important. A duplex is full of feeling, double the normal feeling. Warped Christmas scum lives for the holiday season. 

                Brannon Watts represents the world for the person making next to nothing. Yet that person is responsible for so much. When the little people protest everybody hurts. To date few have ever really realized that the world is run by the little people. So much pomp and celebration goes to the people who make it. Due to the limited resources on Earth not everybody makes it. Humanity’s goal should be to treat people with something like respect. Words slip off the tongue without much in the way of value. Fakeness gets the parties. Realness can be terrifying. One day there will be a spring for the little people tired of propping up the big people. At some point the big people will have to acknowledge the little people and let them feel the love that is self-sustainability, that is a decent life, that is the ability to support and care for friends with families. 

                Paul Christian lives the plane life. Economy class is true ass. Traveling in style fell by the wayside. Nobody bothered to pick it up. Instead there are strange equations trying to determine how many people can possibly fit on a plane. Averages are used to try and ensure everyone get slightly enough space. Armrests are war-zones. People glare at each other. Money determines what happens and most people don’t have the dollar bills for it. 

                Krystal Sierra lets go. Objects are objectified. Nothing can bring as much comfort as a memory. The things of life merely hold those memories until better ones come up. Upon the completion of childhood the memories evaporate as the world becomes more promising. Wings are spread and the sky is a limit. 

                Francis Kou Sugita tries to remember. Bodies are covered in curtains trying to keep the flesh on the inside. Outside nobody wants to see it. When two people get to know each other well enough there is a need for the curtain to be parted. 

                Derek Lessard knew what he had. The feeling was beautiful. Growing up with parents who care about each other is a wonderful thought. Children in a loved environment are able to export that love to others to help improve the quality of life everywhere. Listeners have the joy of letting space take up their time. Here is a place that people can live. Every morning with a new sun comes a present hoping to be better than the past. That is the reason people wake up in the morning: to live life a little better. 

                Thus concludes the epic beginnings of what will be a continuing collection. Matt Margo outdid himself with this one. Hopefully in future issues he shall successfully take his parts and put them back together.

You can read the original here or here.


*On my fiction book Green Cemetery:

Mahmoud Rimawi, editor of the electronic Arabic cultural newspaper, Qaba Qaosayn (At Two Bow ' s Length),  was good enough to include a little review about my latest fiction book, Green Cemetery, under the rubric “Publications” on May 27, 2014.

This is the review in its entirety which was originally published in Arabic.

مقبرة خضراء" قصص بالإنجليزية للتونسي علي زنيدي"
في 05/27/2014 إصدارات

مقبرة خضراء" هو عنوان مجموعة قصصية"
 من نوع الومضة  لمؤلفها التونسيّ علي زنيدي  صدرت مؤخراً –مايو 2014- في طبعتها الأولى عن منشورات مومنت كتب رقمية  في بريطانيا،  في  طبعتين، ورقية ورقمية 
الكتاب جاء في 88 صفحة ،  وصمم غلافه الفنان ش. وانلي 
المؤلّف علي زنيدي  يراوح في كتابه هذا بين الأجناس الأدبية: نقد، شعر، سرد. جاء الكتاب في لغة إنجليزية شعرية 
تعتبر هذه المجموعة أول كتاب تونسي يكتب و يصدر بلغة شكسبير في جنس القصة الومضة 
وعلي زنيدي من الأسماء القليلة التي تكتب الإبداع الأدبي باللغة الإنجليزية وله خمس مؤلفات 

What follows is my translation of this review.

 “Green Cemetery”: Stories in English by Tunisian Ali Znaidi

Published by webmaster on 27/05/2014 –Publications

Green Cemetery” is the title of a collection of short stories of the type flash fiction by Tunisian author, Ali Znaidi. It was recently –May 2014- published in its first edition by Moment Digibooks Limited in two versions; paperback and electronic.
The book came in 88 pages. And the cover was designed by artist Sh. Waneli.
In his book author Ali Znaidi oscillates between literary genres: criticism, poetry and prose. The books came in a poetical English language.
This collection is considered to be the first Tunisian book which was originally written and published in the language of Shakespeare in the genre of flash fiction.
Ali Znaidi is among the few names that write literary creation in English language. He has authored five literary works.

You can read the original source here.


*On my fiction book Green Cemetery:

Anders Dahlgren, editor of MediterraneanPoetry, was good enough to include a little review about my latest fiction book, Green Cemetery, under the rubric “News” on May 28, 2014.

This is the review in its entirety.

Ali Znaidi – New Very Short Fiction Book

Moment Digibooks Limited, a new professional press in the UK, has just published Ali Znaidi’s new flash fiction book Green Cemetery, in which some scenes are set in Tunisia, a part of a Mediterranean world.
The book is available worldwide on Lulu where you can find a free preview of the book.
Links to Ali Znaidi’s published and forthcoming works can be found at –

A short description:

Green Cemetery is a collection of short-short stories (falling under the category of flash fiction). All pieces included were self-published between 2012 and 2013 in the defunct website of The Six Sentences Social Networkin his profile page. Most pieces have been slightly modified in this collection. Each piece is made up of six sentences.
It is in fact the first Tunisian flash fiction collection written originally & published in English language.
Because we are living in an era that is governed by speed which means that more and more people are preferring to read shorter work, although some people still prefer bulky books, brevity is very important. That’s why literature is moving in this direction. People lead busy lives, and many don’t have time to pick up a bulky book. So the focus in this collection is to make these very short stories look like snapshots if we can say so. They give the reader the same nutrients and satisfaction as a full movie, but in some seconds. These stories can be read in a bus stop, in a café, on the beach, or in the bathtub while having a hot drink.
These stories deal with many themes, such as resistance, silence, speaking, love, writing, friendship, the situation & the image of women, dream, nature, darkness, light, despair, hope etc.
So enjoy a little bit of strawberries which is taken from the story “The Portrait of a Lady as a Smoker” page 7 before reading the whole book!

“So she ordered a hubble-bubble, letting the strawberry-flavored tobacco mingle with her strawberry-flavored lipstick.”

You can read the original source here.


*On my poem “Global Warming Catalogues”:

Beth Bayley & Marcella Hammer, editors of the awesome Poetry Invitational sent me an email (on May 28, 2014) in which they commented on my poem  “Global Warming Catalogues” published on May 21, 2014. Many thanks for them for sending such feedback and for giving me permission to publish their notes on my blog.

Beth Bayley:

This is a powerful poem, and you packed a lot of strong images into a few lines - the chocolate and the blue napkins, the fragrant and fiery Hanging Gardens. Very vivid and well-constructed!

Marcella Hammer:

Ali, I'm so glad you've joined us!!! And oh golly I really love this poem. The choice of the 2nd person narrator is powerful and engaging and works to connect us all to the purpose, to the fear, to the global warming reality itself. The image you create with your last line, which is so strong and specific but connective and an anchor to end all anchors—"I know nothing of catastrophes but archiving global warming catalogues"—it makes me emotional, as though any of it can be put on a shelf and archived. But it can! And that is the tragedy and catastrophe, too! It's a fabulous contrast, and a fabulous end to a fabulous poem! WELL DONE!


*On my poem “We all know that you declare war on tongues!”

My poem “We all know that youdeclare war on tongues!” published in Vortice was advertised in Alt Lit Press on June 4, 2014. This site is now called Blogcore House. This is the new link.


*On my asemic piece “Stop! It's the beach. An Asemic Writing”:

Bob Grumman was good enough to favourite my asemic piece  titled “Stop! It's the beach. An Asemic Writing” which was published in Tip of the Knife (Visual Poetry Magazine).

He wrote about it three blog posts in his awesome Poeticks on the eighth, ninth & tenth of June 2014.

The First blog post goes as follows:

Entry 1478 — The Beach!!

The latest issue of Bill DiMichele’s always excellent netzine, Tip of the Knife, is out. Among my many favorites in it was this, by Ali Znaidi (who is new to me):

Stop! It’s the beach. An Asemic Writing
It swept Bill into “a seascape with shiny pebbles and beach umbrellas. There are sand castles rising from the shore, aiming for that Sunday blue sky above us all, for those playful children enjoying cotton candy and drawing pictures with driftwood.”  Bill goes on the speak of loving “the soul Ali empties into the depths of the ocean, the swimmers riding peaceful currents, doing a high dive, dallying with mermaids among their coral language homes,” and I know just what he means, although the details of my interpretation of this multi-interpretable work differ from his.  The work is clearly an inspired celebration of the beach as, well: “!!”
I hope to return to this tomorrow with a few better words for what I get from it than I have right now.

You can read  the original here.

The second blog post goes as follows:

Entry 1479 — Back to the Beach

Stop! It’s the beach. An Asemic Writing

Here’s the comment I made about the above at Tip of the Knife yesterday: “Another great issue, Bill. I was taken with Ali’s “Stop! It’s the beach. An Asemic Writing,” too. In fact, I stole it for re-use at my blog. I like your take on it: mine so far is very nebulous, but I also see the same theme there as you. I think of Klee–especially the way a merely nice picture takes off because of its title!”
I have even more to say about it today because shortly after I wrote yesterday’s blog entry, and categorized this work as a “textual design,” I saw the word, “swim,” could be made of the lettersstacked to the right, which have extra M’s to their left.  There are one or two extra S’s, too.  So we have the very appropriate, “swimmmms” . . .  So it’s a visual poem.
I almost see it as a mathematical poem, too–because of how much it looks like an addition example.  All it needs is a plus sign.
I’m pacing myself in this analysis.  Don’t want to tire myself out.  So I’ll return for more Masterful Insights tomorrow.

You can read the original here.

The third blog post goes as follows:

Entry 1480 — Just a Few More Beach Thoughts

Apologies, but once again I forgot to make this public until now, 2 days late.
I don’t have much more to say about the Beach (!!, !!).  Just that it makes me think of American Indians–the big M’s might be tepees, and the symbols Indian hierglyphics, although I have to say I know close to absolutely nothing about Indian writing, even if they had any.  But there are also puffs of smoke language in the work.The main thing I get from the work is how strongly it signifies . . . something, but something difficult to pin down.  The change from the stack of three instances of “OlM” (as I reduce it) to the swirl I found SMIW or SWIIM in seem especially meaningful–but why?  From print to cursive?  From solidity to a kind of organic. lazy, confused bolt of lightning?

Then there are the four domino 6′s.  The way they slightly slant toward the right, the leftmost one, the most, suggests to me some kind of footprints across flat land meeting a horizon where a sign triply announcing the beach rises.  The exclamation signs join in the perspective the 6′s are suggesting.  Since a beach is shore, this also suggests a higher adventure than a day of sandcastle fun–a place to leave for discoveries!
The work’s aesthetic value is almost entirely visual, but its text and near-text make it more than a scene–a scene within an attempt to translate it into words–i.e., a scene and something trying to be said about the scene that locates it, according to my long-held central view of poetry’s main goal, in a Manywhere-at-Once consisting of places in both the visual and linguistic parts of an observer’s brain causing a tension the resolution the challenge of which is what gives the work its main zing.  Possibly no two persons coming to it will get the same details from it, but everyone experiencing a superior appreciation of it will end in the same Manywhere-at-Once.

You can read the original here.


*My Participation in The Missing Slate’s Poetry World Cup 2014:

The Missing Slate’s literary editor Jacob Silkstone was good enough to select my poem “Talk to Me, Apple” to represent Tunisia in a The Missing Slate’s Poetry World Cup 2014 which started on June 12, 2014.

This is how this contest would run. (The pieces of information are taken from The Missing Slate’s website.)

The Missing Slate's Poetry World Cup Logo and Participants

The Draw

Round One

Round Two

Bangladesh/Venezuela v. Barbados/USA
Bermuda/Uganda v. Botswana/Tunisia
Bulgaria/Trinidad & Tobago v. Canada/St. Lucia
China/Singapore v. Cyprus/Serbia
Denmark/Scotland v. England/Russia
Finland/Republic of Ireland v. Ghana/Pakistan
India/Nigeria v. Indonesia/New Zealand
Iran/Malaysia v. Laos/Lebanon

The Rules

Each country is represented by one poem; all poems must previously have been published in The Missing Slate (poems that have also appeared elsewhere will remain eligible).

For the first round, the countries have been drawn in alphabetical order. The first in the alphabet (Bangladesh) plays the last (Venezuela), and so on. In the second round, the winner of the opening match will play the winner of the second match, and so on.

The winner of each match will be decided by The Missing Slate‘s readers a poll on the magazine’s website, located at the foot of each individual match page. (Please note: for the opening two matches, it was also possible to vote on the magazine’s facebook page. The voting process has now been streamlined to avoid potential confusion over two separate sets of results.)

Each match will run for exactly 24 hours, beginning at midday Pakistan time (PKT; GMT+4 hours). After 24 hours, the poem with the most votes will be declared the winner and will go through to the next round.

In the event of a tie, the match will go to a “golden vote”. The poem that receives the first vote after midday PKT will be the winner.

In the event of any dispute over the result, the decision of The Missing Slate‘s editors must be regarded as final.

You can read the original here.

[My Match: June 15, 2014] would run as follows. (The pieces of information are taken from The Missing Slate’s website.)

Round 1: Botswana-Tunisia


In the inspirational words of the great Colombian writer Shakira, “When you fall get up, oh oh/ If you fall get up, eh eh/ Tsamina mina zangalewa/ Cuz this is Africa.” And today is all about Africa. The fourth match of our Poetry World Cup brings together poems from the north and south of the continent, with the winners facing Bermuda in round two. Without further ado, it’s time to meet today’s poets.

In the blue corner, representing Botswana, is TJ Dema. Already a veteran performer, TJ Dema is a spoken word poet whose work remains strong on the page. In addition to her own writing, she’s heavily involved in various community projects: she runs Sauti Arts and Performance Managementand is chair of the Writers Association of Botswana. “Writing is often a solitary act,” she told SJ Fowler in her 2012 Poetry Parnassus interview, “but like all other human beings the poets I know crave community, whether it is with fellow poets or an audience, with pioneers of their favourite forms or with poets from far off countries.”

Wearing Tunisian red in the other corner is Ali Znaidi, an English teacher from Redeyef who claims that smoking and green tea are crucial to his ‘moments of revelation’. Ali Znaidi’s poems have beenwidely-published in recent years (he is reputedly the first Tunisian poet ever to have published a collection of haiku in English), and his work has been translated into German, Greek, Turkish and Italian. He has also translated work by the New Mexican poet Catfish McDaris into Arabic.

Jaggery Roof

It’s midnight in Delhi.
I am tongue kissing a bowl of Bengali pudding
on Sudeep’s rooftop,
listening to the heartbeats of a million books
huddling against the wind.
He is high up on the bookshelf,
hands at back, smile at ready,
kurta flapping at the knees
for a moment he is Anna’s king.
Slipping quietly between the shadows of silence
that rarely falls between the welcome noise.
Poets: they have no sense of white space
against a midnight sky…

~ TJ Dema

Talk to Me, Apple

Talk to me apple
before a hungry
mouth devours you.
Talk to me apple
before the sun
dries your skin.
Talk to me apple
before a knife
peels you from
extreme to extreme.
Talk to me apple
before homeless
worms creep into
your veins…

~ Ali Znaidi



You can read the original here.

This poll is closed!

Poll Results:

This match was the closest of the tournament so far... Momentum shifted between the two poems all through the voting, and it finished with 38-38 tie. As per the tournament rules, the polls were reopened for a 'golden vote', and Tunisia scraped through to round two.

Poll activity: 

start_date 15/06/2014 12:00:00

end_date 16/06/2014 12:52:13

The Results:

Botswana (TJ Dema) - (38 votes )

Tunisia (Ali Znaidi) - (39 votes )


[My Second Match: June 29, 2014] would run as follows. (The pieces of information are taken from The Missing Slate’s website.)

Round 2: Bermuda-Tunisia


Was anyone else tense just watching that? No? Maybe that was just me… In yesterday’s big game, one of the pre-tournament favourites was pushed all the way by spirited South American opposition: for most of the match, there was absolutely nothing to separate the two teams. That’s the Poetry World Cup encounter between the USA and Venezuela, of course, and in this version of the World Cup the underdogs scored late in the game and went through to the next stage. The US, needing only a few votes to make the difference, ended ‘not with a bang but a whimper’and Rafael Ayala Páez of Venezuela is into the quarter-finals (no penalties involved), to face either Bermuda or Tunisia.


Bermuda’s representative is Nancy Anne Miller, whose first collection (‘Somersault’) is forthcoming from Guernica Editions.  Her poems on Bermuda are motivated by a desire to show the island beyond the tourist image and get to the… wonderfully-rich society.’ She has an M Litt in Creative Writing from Univ. of Glasgow, is a MacDowell Fellow, and teaches workshops in Bermuda. She was shortlisted for the small axe salon poetry prize, and is currently guest editor of ‘tongues of the ocean’.

Representing Tunisia is Ali Znaidi, an English teacher from Redeyef who claims that smoking and green tea are crucial to his ‘moments of revelation’. Ali Znaidi’s poems have been widely-published in recent years (he is reputedly the first Tunisian poet ever to have published a collection of haiku in English), and his work has been translated into German, Greek, Turkish and Italian. He has also translated work by the New Mexican poet Catfish McDaris into Arabic.


Bermuda won comfortably in a fairly low-scoring match against Uganda in round one, leading throughout the voting and ending 20 votes ahead. Tunisia, on the other hand, were involved in the tightest match of the round, eventually drawing with Botswana after trailing for much of the voting. As per the rules of the competition, the poll was reopened and the game was decided by a “golden vote” (first vote wins): that vote quickly went to Tunisia, although we’d already run out of nails to bite by that point. A fortnight later, the editors’ nails have grown back and we’re ready for another close match: this one could go either way!

Wrecker’s Ball

The bay grape leaves mimic
cobblestones on the path
which overlooks the sea.
A street lined with gold,
doubloons thrown down,
for entrance to the hidden
view.  The trees on the side
curve like the inside of a boat…

~ Nancy Anne Miller

Talk to Me, Apple

Talk to me apple
before a hungry
mouth devours you.
Talk to me apple
before the sun
dries your skin.
Talk to me apple
before a knife
peels you from
extreme to extreme…

~ Ali Znaidi


You can read the original here.

Editor’s note: If, for any reason, you’re unable to vote in the poll, please leave the name of the poem/country you’d like to vote for in the comments.

This poll is closed!

Poll Results:

Tunisia produced the comeback of the tournament in yesterday's Poetry World Cup match against Bermuda: after trailing by 25 votes at one stage, they steadily closed the gap overnight and took the lead with just half an hour left before the poll closed. Tunisia won by 3 votes. Tunisia-Venezuela will be our first quarter-final on July 5th.

This poll is closed!

Poll activity:

start_date 29/06/2014 12:00:00

end_date 30/06/2014 11:59:59

The Results:

Bermuda (Nancy Anne Miller) - (36 votes )

Tunisia (Ali Znaidi) - (39 votes )


[My Third Match: July 5, 2014] would run as follows. (The pieces of information are taken from The Missing Slate’s website.)

Quarter-finals: Venezuela-Tunisia


“Capacity to surprise” is one of those critical stock phrases that reviewers love to fall back on when talking about poetry. Google “poetry + capacity to surprise” and you’ll find well over a hundred thousand hits: a number large enough to suggest that the phrase “capacity to surprise” has long since lost its… well, you see where I’m going with this.

The first match of the Poetry World Cup quarter-finals brings together two countries that have caused more than their fair share of surprises in getting this far. In today’s vote, we’ll find out which one will be going through to the World Cup semis.


Our Venezuelan representative is Rafael Ayala Páez, a young poet whose work is already beginning to be noticed around the world. His poems have been translated from Spanish into English, French, German and Hebrew, and we’re presenting his work in Roger Hickin’s English translation. Rafael Ayala Páez draws on a number of traditions, and a “spiritual connection to the culture of India” lies behind poems such as ‘Vaisvanara/Agni’.

Representing Tunisia is Ali Znaidi, an English teacher from Redeyef who claims that smoking and green tea are crucial to his “moments of revelation”. Ali Znaidi’s poems have been widely-published in recent years (he is reputedly the first Tunisian poet ever to have published a collection of haiku in English), and his work has been translated into German, Greek, Turkish and Italian. He has also translated work by the New Mexican poet Catfish McDaris into Arabic.


Venezuela overcame Bangladesh in the opening match of the tournament, then caused probably the biggest shock of the last round by eliminating the USA. Tunisia have been involved in two close games, beating Botswana via a golden vote and then overtaking Bermuda in the final hour of voting last time out.


Memory is in the fingertips
Colors are in the eyes
Infancy is contained in the backbone
Worlds are born in broken shells
There will always be a sign in every object
made vague in the horizon
An infinite omen in the night
A sparkle suspended on the forehead
An old smell beneath the pebbles
A red sun behind the hills
Sunrises on the eyelids
Balloons floating in the sky…

~ Rafael Ayala Páez, trans. Roger Hickin

Talk to Me, Apple

Talk to me apple
before a hungry
mouth devours you.
Talk to me apple
before the sun
dries your skin.
Talk to me apple
before a knife
peels you from
extreme to extreme.
Talk to me apple…
~ Ali Znaidi


You can read the original here.

Editor’s note: If, for any reason, you’re unable to vote in the poll, please leave the name of the poem/country you’d like to vote for in the comments.

This poll is closed!

Poll Results:

Tunisia won by 29 votes and went through to the semi-finals.

Poll activity:

start_date 05/07/2014 18:00:00

end_date 06/07/2014 17:59:59

The Results:

Venezuela (Rafael Ayala Páez) - (20 votes )

Tunisia (Ali Znaidi) - (49 votes )


Poetry World Cup: Meet the semi-finalists

With the semi-finals of the Poetry World Cup getting underway today, we caught up with the four semi-finalists: Ali Znaidi (Tunisia), Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé (Singapore), Mehvash Amin (Pakistan) and Bryan Thao Worra (Laos).

How do you feel about the support you’ve received from the magazine’s readers? Did you expect your poem to get this far?

Ali Znaidi: It’s very encouraging that one feels supported by some readers. At the end, we write to be read and heard. And this contest gives another life to my poem and the other poems. The poem is resurrected after slumbering in the archives. I don’t know about expectations because everything is based on votes.  So each result is just relative, given the fact of the quality of all poems in the contest.

Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé: I feel surrounded by so much warmth and encouragement. Poetry isn’t really everybody’s go-to activity – it’s usually viewed at arm’s length, as something rarefied or difficult or alienating—so for people to say they liked reading the poems within each round is just a spectacular thing. From the first round, several people mentioned that the whole literary spin-off from the actual World Cup was an awesome idea. One reader who’s more proficient in Mandarin, entered my poem right from the idiom-for-a-title. Then, he read the poem and said he actually understood it, that he liked what it had to say. Someone shared that experience with me, and it totally made my day.

The literary journal is a very foreign concept for most people. So many people have just been intrigued by the “event”, and being made privy to this small world of literature, and what we do. They really find themselves reading, and immersing themselves in the poems. And I think the poems start doing that beautiful work of resonance. Of relating and saying something particular to each reader. We shouldn’t underestimate the power of one poem, and its poignancy in a moment of reading. As Samuel Beckett said, “Words are all we have.”

Mehvash Amin: Frankly, I didn’t think how well, or otherwise, the poem would do—I try to take each day as it comes. As for the support, in a country that is not supposed to be receptive to English poetry, I was pretty overwhelmed, especially the second time around.

Bryan Thao Worra: I’m honored and gratified at the response from the readers of The Missing Slate. That they’ve been so receptive to it is of course a delight. There was always a bit of uncertainty if the verse of Lao poets in the speculative tradition could resonate with those from so many different nations.

So, to all of my young students and to any emerging writers anywhere in the world, I hope you see this journey so far as a vindication of the power of words and friendship. I hope you all remember to see writing not just as ink upon a page, but souls talking to souls.

Of the poems left in the competition, which do you think will win the World Cup? (And why?)

Ali Znaidi: I think Mehvash Amin’s ‘Karachi’: it’s a really strong poem that is full of fresh imagery.

Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé: We’re all winners in this game. All of us who participated and joined in the fun. It’s a game of appreciation. Of appreciating one another’s wordsmithery, and each of our poems. These poems are no less than gifts to the reader.

Mehvash Amin: I like them all! Frankly, by this time a bit of partisanship has to have crept into the competition, a sense of country above all else, and I think the followers who are most fired up will win.

Bryan Thao Worra: They’re all such fine poems! We are in fact, quite evenly matched that I don’t think it can be called. The statistics suggest that Pakistan and Laos have particularly enthusiastic fans who will come out to weigh in on the poems. Tunisia’s matches so far have been relatively modest, comparatively speaking, but I’m expecting Ali Znaidi will bring a very energetic final match that could surprise everyone. Singapore was also performing very consistently in their matches. We can only wait and see.

Given a chance to choose between all 32 poems, would you pick a different winner?

Ali Znaidi: I would still stick to Mehvash Amin’s ‘Karachi’ because I love this poem. And, as I said, everything is relative and a matter of personal taste.

Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé: Probably New Zealand’s Iain Britton, whose poem is perfect—such polish. What powerful enjambments and stanza-work, each line wrapping around a new image or idea. And of course, Ravi Shankar’s ‘Camp X-Ray’ is right up there too. Totally gripping piece.

Jon Stone’s ‘The Bumblebee Dreams’ is simply gorgeous. I mean look at the “melittologist”, and the lovely opening lines “of nothing more or less / than pulling the balaclava of foxglove or bluebell over her head”—how “all her beliefs are stolen / and since it keeps her joyous as the tears of a sun god, / she has given up fighting her own madness.” Breathtaking.

Mehvash Amin: Each poem says something different, differently. As long as a work speaks to you, there are no winners or losers.

Bryan Thao Worra: I’m not certain. I think it would have been very interesting to see the results if this had been double-elimination.

Have you discovered any poets for the first time through the Poetry World Cup? Whose work have you really enjoyed reading?

Ali Znaidi: Yes, I discovered some poets for the first time through the Poetry World Cup: I really enjoyed their work and I learnt from their experiences. For instance, I can mention Nancy Anne Miller, Kapka Kassabova, Nora Nadjarian, Dušan Gojkov, Mehvash Amin, and Bryan Thao Worra.

Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé: I remember absolutely falling in love with Dušan Gojkov’s last lines in ‘Poem No. 4’. The lines —I’m reading this in translation, of course—go like this: “you say your coffee is getting cold / it’s good to write poetry / you always have at hand a little piece of paper on / which you can put the seeds from the cherry / dumplings”.

Shikha Malaviya. Mehvash Amin. Bryan Thao Worra. They’ve all written such elegant poems. Valery Petrovskiy’s poem about counting to five is equally lovely. Reminds me of a poem I read by Daniil Kharms fifteen years ago. Anyone who invokes Ginsberg I adore, so I already love Lebanon’s Wadih Sa’adeh. And I just want to give Payam Feili a big bear hug.

Mehvash Amin: It was a really wonderful opportunity to discover so many new voices. I honestly enjoyed the poems of my two opponents, Kwame Dawes and Ryan Van Winkle, at a different level—I suppose I had more time to drink their poetry in, sitting as it was right next to my own poem.

Bryan Thao Worra: I took the time to read the work of all of the poets in the Poetry World Cup. I really enjoyed reading all of the poets I was directly matched against: such as Wadih Sa’adeh of Lebanon and Shikha Malaviya of India. Ikhda Ayuning Maharsi of Indonesia was also a great discovery, as is Mehvash Amin. I’ll be looking for everyone’s work in the future.

I do hope my readers take a special note of Payam Feili, however, because he’s making such a remarkable journey at great, great risk to give a poetic voice to a community that is so rarely heard within the world.

How confident are you feeling about your semi-final match?

Ali Znaidi: I’m confident as usual. But, I rely on more support from The Missing Slate’s readers, other readers, and some of my pals and Twitter followers.

Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé: Oh, I’ll leave it to the readers, who have the ultimate say in who gets to the next round. It’s their gaze, their reading, their interpretation, their likes and dislikes that matter. It’ll be like an eternal waiting for Godot, who might not descend on the day to provide some measure of clarity. Lots of the mundane and absurdist happening at once in my waiting between games. I think I like staying in the moment—liminality is most seductive at the cusp of certainty—never mind the arrival or non-arrival, in a sort of Derridean-Beckettian sense of things. I offer this because I’m in the first stirrings of writing a piece of fiction that works off that absolutely beautiful play that Beckett wrote—to get us all tangled up in knots, no less—no doubt.

Mehvash Amin: I am very nervous! But all in all, I think the Poetry World Cup gave my poem a wider readership than I could have thought possible, and that’s great.

Bryan Thao Worra: Poets and confidence. Such a great question but so rarely the definitive answer. As we approach the semi-final match, I’m content. It’s a poem that’s been popular among both my long-time readers and new ones. Every poet knows fortune and fate have a great sense of humor, so it’s best to remain philosophical about it.

Pakistan’s Mehvash Amin is a marvelous poet and if I should lose this match to her, there’s no shame in that at all. I’m absolutely confident that both of our readers are in for a treat and will find thought-provoking verse that pushes words to the very limit of the worlds they can change. Who can ask for anything more?

You can read the original here.


[My Fourth Match: July 10, 2014] would run as follows. (The pieces of information are taken from The Missing Slate’s website.)

Semi-finals: Tunisia-Singapore


We’re still in shock after that Brazil-Germany game, but it’s time to pick those jaws up off the floor (a slightly macabre image) and get back to the Poetry World Cup, where the first semi-final brings together Singapore and Tunisia. Singapore have attracted strong support in every round so far, reaching the semis with an emphatic win over Trinidad & Tobago, whereas Tunisia were minutes away from going out in the first round, eventually drawing with Botswana and going through on a ‘golden vote’. Can Tunisia’s poem cause one of the biggest surprises of the tournament and go all the way to the final?


Tunisia’s World Cup poet is Ali Znaidi, an English teacher from Redeyef who says that smoking and green tea are crucial to his ‘moments of revelation’. Ali Znaidi’s poems have been widely-published in recent years (he is reputedly the first Tunisian poet ever to have published a collection of haiku in English), and his work has been translated into German, Greek, Turkish and Italian. He has also translated work by the New Mexican poet Catfish McDaris into Arabic.

Proudly waving the flag for Singapore is Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé. The recipient of the PEN American Center Shorts Prize, Swale Life Poetry Prize and Cyclamens & Swords Poetry Prize, among other awards, he also has a theology masters (world religions) from Harvard and fine arts masters (creative writing) from Notre Dame. His work spans various genres —ethnography, journalism, poetry, and creative nonfiction: I’ve come to realise,’ he says, ‘that… I was meant to work across artistic media. The hats are all funky to wear, and life is a grand party.


After edging out Botswana via a golden vote, Tunisia produced a late comeback to finish 3 votes ahead of Bermuda in the second round, then beat Venezuela more comprehensively in the quarters.

Singapore scored the biggest win of the opening round, beating China by 48 votes, and have been in imposing form during high-scoring victories over Cyprus in round two and Trinidad in the quarters.

Talk to Me, Apple

Talk to me apple
before a hungry
mouth devours you.
Talk to me apple
before the sun
dries your skin.
Talk to me apple
before a knife
peels you from
extreme to extreme.
Talk to me apple…

~ Ali Znaidi

gǎn qíng yòng shì :: impulsive and impetuous

“It was game season, and there was blood and lust in their eyes. It was no different from Rome in the old days. Gladiators, lions, slaves, the ringmaster, thrust in a ring together. No different. No different at all.” In the next hour, Geronimo practically talks to himself, gives himself a lesson in violence as spectacle. “What are the forces of tradition? How do they bear down on these peoples? We are in their debt really. We don’t get to see this kind of steadfastness in the city…

~ Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé


You can read the original here.

Editor’s note: If, for any reason, you’re unable to vote in the poll, please leave the name of the poem/country you’d like to vote for in the comments below (multiple votes from the same IP address are not accepted). 

This poll is closed!

Poll Results:

Singapore won by 54 votes.

Poll activity:

start_date 10/07/2014 12:00:00

end_date 11/07/2014 11:59:59

The Results:

Tunisia (Ali Znaidi) - (165 votes )
Singapore (Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé) - (220 votes )

A picture of the semi-final match designed by Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé. It’s borrowed off his Facebook page.



*An interview with me appeared in Margutte on June 16, 2014. Many thanks to editors Silvia Pio and Leslie McBride Wile for interviewing me.

Silvia Pio and Leslie McBride Wile were good enough to publish an interview with me in Margutte on June 16, 2014.

You can check out the interview in English language here and in its Italian version here.


*An interview with me appeared in The African Book Review on July 27, 2014. Many thanks to editor Etinosa Agbonlahor for interviewing me.

Etinosa Agbonlahor was good enough to publish an interview with me in The African Book Review on July 27, 2014.

This is the interview in full.

Poetry is my presence in this world: An Interview with Ali Znaidi

Ali Znaidi is a Tunisian poet whose work has appeared in magazines and journals worldwide. His poems use experimental forms to explore issues of the human condition. The African Book Review had a conversation with Ali about his experience as a Tunisian poet of English expression and his recent poetry collection, Experimental Ruminations.

Ali Znaidi

ABR: What influences your poetry?

ZNAIDI: I was born in a mining town in the south of Tunisia where I spent all my childhood… I had no solution to escape the confines and routine of living in a town with scarce outlets and cultural activities but to delve into reading whatever came across my hands…Consequently, I started practicing my own stories, initially scribbling notes and thoughts in Arabic on copybooks and scraps of papers…Writing is in a way, always expressing a certain presence. And I was always driven by a need to tell something, especially in an implicit and symbolic way from my own perspective, and that’s what poetry is.

“Poetry is my presence in this world.”

ABR: What influenced your decision to write many of your poems in English instead of Arabic?

ZNAIDI: I had been writing or scribbling notes since an early age in Arabic which is my mother tongue. When I joined university, I switched into English as a medium for my creative writing. Being a Tunisian poet who writes in English and who lives in a little town in the south of Tunisia is really a big challenge because of the scarcity of readership, but I also like to transgress the borderlines. I like to demolish boundaries. So another language (In this case, English) becomes a bridge through which experiences can be experimented with and expressed. In this sense, English opens the possibilities to see another version of the world and to go through other territories of existence because at the end, language creates worlds and our perceptions to them.  Whether we like it or not, English is a global language and I really want my voice to be heard globally.

“I love my mother tongue and I am fluent in it. But I always like to swim in other seas. Writing in English is synonymous with being able to voice out ‘the repressed water’ inside oneself. It is also letting go and freeing oneself because freedom manifests itself through speech.”

Writing in English has also helped me see poetry as something filled with fathomless possibilities of experimentation. I love to experiment and to take risks, regardless of the outcome. And writing in another language is really synonymous with taking risks because you never know the results.

ABR: As a Tunisian poet, how has Tunisia influenced your works?

ZNAIDI: Tunisia is a beautiful Meditreanean country which is anchored in a rich history and civilization. The problem is that contemporary Tunisia is characterized by centralization and dictatorship which means marginalization of the inner towns. Hence the senses of frustration and the continuous hope for liberation [found in my poems]. Besides, the place where I live is characterized by its raw nature, the omnipresence of the colour grey, and the scarcity of trees. It is a town surrounded by mountains that opens onto the desert. That’s why my poetry is oftentimes written in a raw language…and in some of my poems I express that want for an outlet, perhaps a fresh Tunisia where the marginalized can have their share of the beauty and wealth of the country.

ABR: Sonnet 2 and Sonnet 4 in Experimental Ruminations talk about escape and reality. I liked the lines “this content is obliterated/ as the sun’s lights void/ the murk of the night” in Sonnet 2 and “The colour grey harmed the eyes./ The eyes wanted to see other colours diluted w/ desire” in Sonnet 4. There seems to be a longing to escape reality in both poems…

ZNAIDI: I always try to express dichotomies in my work. Dichotomies keep us confused and make us oscillate between two extremes. They vex us and trigger us to question the status quo. Each one of us is searching for light in each other, in religion, in the arts, in nature, etc. The search for light and for noble values like justice, freedom, and peace is something I have attempted to express in my work through the themes of liberation and escape.  In both poems I intended to communicate the stagnant harsh reality and how to avoid its monotonous colours; something akin to Tunisia where we are raised under one colour, one party, one thought, one routine. And I would even say my choice to be a poet, is to express an anxiety against standardized linguistic constructs and ‘prefabricated’ stereotypic narratives.

ABR: The spacing in your poems is very interesting and unusual. In “Against Suffocation Theory” for example, were you trying to communicate something in terms of the structure?

ZNAIDI: With the proliferation of digital media, poetry becomes more visual. In “Against Suffocation Theory” I chose to arrange the poem the way I did to experiment with the lines and to try to communicate something in terms of the structure at the same time. Besides, I wanted the poem to have a special shape on paper and on the computer screen.

ABR: What do you think the role of poetry is in African society? And what would you like it to be?

ZNAIDI: I think poetry in African societies should be more important than its current role. It has to draw the attention of African readers to big issues in the continent and also has to come up with a vision for Africa, short and long term, through asking thorny questions that vex the people and leaders alike. Yes, it is difficult to change the world with a word. But, as writers and poets, we have always believed in the power of the word and in its reverberations. I would like African poetry to thrive and to contribute more to the human experience. A contribution that would bring great writers and introduce new voices to the international scene. I hope I can play my part in doing that.

ABR: Who are your favorite poets, and do you have any favorite African writers?

ZNAIDI: I read lots of poetry in Arabic and French. As for poetry written in English, I do not have special names to mention because I love to read as much as I can and to explore many experiences. However, I must admit that I have penchant for the works of  Walt Whitman, William Carlos Williams, T. S. Eliot, Wallace Stevens, Ezra Pound, E. E. Cummings, just to name a few. As for contemporary poets, I love the works of Ron Silliman, Charles Bernstein, John Agard, and Benjamin Zephaniah. As for African writers, I love the works of Abou el Kacem Chebbi, Chinua Achebe, Ngugi wa Thiongo, Wole Soyinka, Léopold Sédar Senghor, and many more.

ABR: What projects are you currently working on?

ZNAIDI: There are always things simmering in my mind. Right now, I am working on some poems about Sappho.I am translating some more poems by American poet Catfish McDaris into Arabic. I am also trying to better my techniques in visual poetry.

Ali Znaidi (b. 1977) lives in Redeyef, Tunisia where he teaches English. He graduated with a BA in Anglo-American Studies from the University of Sfax for the South. He has authored four poetry chapbooks including Experimental Ruminations (Fowlpox Press, 2012), Moon’s Cloth Embroidered with Poems (Origami Poems Project, 2012), Bye, Donna Summer! (Fowlpox Press, 2014), and Taste of the Edge (Kind of A Hurricane Press, 2014). Links to his published and forthcoming works can be found at

You can read the interview in its original source here.


*On my poems “& Each” and “Luck Search”

My poems “& Each” and “Luck Search” published in Purple Pig Lit were advertised in Alt Lit Press on September 10, 2014. This site is now called Blogcore House. This is the new link.

*On my name as a title of a poem:

Brooks Lampe was good enough to post a poem about my name in Uut Poetry on September 17, 2014. This poem is in fact about Taylor Fayle @taylorfayle, Todd Lidh @ToddLidh, & Ali Znaidi @AliZnaidi. Many thanks to Brooks Lampe @brookslampe.

This is the poem.

Do you know Taylor Fayle, Todd Lidh and Ali Znaidi on Twitter?

We’ve all been there:
chandelier hair crazy in the wind,
the disbursal of meerkats and acrostic crochets.

Tension is the lost face of happiness,
the furtherance weeping
of insemination and untruthfulness
in the archepiscopacy.
Cyberpunks on their violincellos
bleeding us, who are alone
in this perfect barometric night.

Do we have your correct mobile number? Yes—
and the gods have bioactive skyways
flaming out when your hands become part of my face
in Russian literature class.

You can check the original here.


*On my poetry chapbook Experimental Ruminations:

Canadian poet Jason Heroux was good enough to post a brief review about my poetry chapbook Experimental Ruminations in his blog Brief Reviews of Books I Haven't Yet Read on October 13, 2014.

This is the review in full.

Experimental Ruminations by Ali Znaidi
Fowlpox Press, 2012

Yesterday I received an email from a poet in Tunisia named Ali Znaidi submitting his poetry chapbook Experimental Ruminations to me for a possible review on this site.
I hadn’t heard of him before, but I searched for some of his work online and found some real treasures. Here’s the opening of “Talk to Me, Apple,” published in The Missing Slate.

Talk to me apple
before a hungry
mouth devours you.
Talk to me apple
before the sun
dries your skin.
Talk to me apple
before a knife
peels you from
extreme to extreme.

I’m really looking forward to reading his chapbook Experimental Ruminations. Here’s a link where you can download the chapbook for free.

Znaidi’s poems are raw in the best sense of the word: they’re strong and undisguised. They are not exquisite artifacts, like fine china, kept behind glass for some special occasion. His poems resemble the chipped plates and bent forks we use everyday because, as Znaidi’s poetry often reminds us, everyday is the true special occasion.

Keep track of Ali’s forthcoming work by visiting his blog.

And here’s his page at UniVerse showcasing some more poems.

You can check out the original review here.


*On my haiku chapbook Bye, Donna Summer!:

American poet and haikuist Ayaz Daryl Nielsen was good enough to post a brief review about my haiku chapbook Bye, Donna Summer! in the blog of bear creek haiku on November 5, 2014.

This is the review in full.

Tunisian teacher/poet Ali Znaidi's haiku chapbook: 'Bye, Donna Summer' (from Canada's Fowlpox Press)

Am quite astonished (and delighted) the haiku chapbook 'Bye, Donna Summer', written by Tunisian poet Ali Znaidi and published by Virgil Kay's Canadian Press 'Fowlpox', found it's way around our world to my desk - 

some Spanish apples
on a Tunisian stall
lost in translation

Ali Znaidi

fine haiku further complemented by the layout and design of Fowlpox Press's Paul E Valente.

. .  yes, one world united by poetry (and music, and dance, et al.) - we, of course (hopefully) know this, and, here is Ali Znaid's fine example - Tunisia through Canada to America! - lovely -

           lily’s aroma
finds a way into the street
           Lily’s aroma

Ali Znaidi

further info -
Ali Znaidi:
(b.1977) lives in Redeyef, Tunisia where he teaches English at Tunisian public secondary schools. . .  
his poetry appears in magazines and journals worldwide.  His debut poetry chapbook Experimental Ruminations was published in September 2012 by Fowlpox Press (Canada).  He blogs at and also about Tunisian literature at

On a spring morning 
Dim the lights, “Dim all The Lights”
I’ll miss you Summer

Ali Znaidi and the title from a Donna Summer song

Fowl Feathered Review is from Fowlpox Press - parent website: - chapbooks available at no cost. 'Our focus is the written word, and we are not held back by a fixed number of subscriptions, sales, etc. - this comes after years of working with a formula that yields the best compilation of contemporary poetry unencumbered by national demographics or political bias.  You are welcome to submit your chapbook manuscript to, please also enclose a biography - we are very interested in the people writing'.

Cheers,   Virgil Kay

Bye, Donna Summer
layout and design Paul E Valente   Fowlpox Press
ISBN 978-1-927593-31-8

see you in a moment

ayaz daryl Nielsen

You can check out the original review here.


*On my fiction book Green Cemetery:

Editors of Blogcore House (USA) were good enough to advertise my fiction book Green Cemetery on November 10, 2014.

This is the text in full.

All pieces included were self-published between 2012 and 2013 in the defunct website of The Six Sentences Social Network in his profile page. Most pieces have been slightly modified in this collection. Each piece is made up of six sentences.

So enjoy a little bit of strawberries which is taken from the story “The Portrait of a Lady as a Smoker” page 7 before reading the whole book!

“So she ordered a hubble-bubble, letting the strawberry-flavored tobacco mingle with her strawberry-flavored lipstick.”

Available for $7.13 via lulu and amazon.

You can check out the original text here.


*On my poetry chapbook Experimental Ruminations:

South African reviewer and critic Lois Courtenay Henderson was good enough to post a review about my poetry chapbook Experimental Ruminations in Book reviews on November 13, 2014.

This is the review in full.

Experimental Ruminations / Ali Znaidi - Book Review

The Prologue to renowned Tunisian poet Ali Znaidi’s Experimental Ruminations (Fowlpox Press, 2012), which consists of two lines from Leonard Cohen’s Book of Longing, suitably sets the tone for the poems, including a number of sonnets, that are contained in this chapbook: “I followed the course / from chaos to art”. That the current work is, most clearly, a work of art, can be seen in the great care that is taken by Znaidi in presenting the poems, both sequentially, within the book as a whole, and structurally, in terms of each individual poem.

From emptiness emerges “full dream”, as the first sonnet in the five that start this chapbook proclaims. The sonnets, although not in traditional sonnet form, but written in free verse, as many of Znaidi’s poems are, nevertheless have the intent of sonnets, in that they focus on conveying an overwhelming emotion, which is, essentially, based on a paradox that is implicit in the human predicament.  The poet’s brave and confrontational approach to life can be seen in the climax to Sonnet 2, where he welcomes the daylight that follows on “the murk of the night”.

Znaidi’s sensitiveness to the deeper workings of an artist’s mind are voiced in his third sonnet, which compares smashed butterfly corpses adorning the walls, mural-like, as a result of the insects having lost their way during a solar eclipse, to a canvas that might astound even Salvador Dali. The greyness and bleakness of life to an individual who longs for the greenness and freshness of the prairie is heightened by Znaidi’s repetition of “grey” in Sonnet 4, where the monotony of the landscape is only alleviated by the inner eye of the imagination.

The poet’s appreciation of the vulnerability of the downtrodden is expressed through the startling juxtaposition of “giraffe people” with “The little snail / [that] doesn’t like to be trodden”. His urgent appeal to “autograph lovers” to “Please, think of little snails!” is striking in its poignancy. That Znaidi is at home with elements of domesticity can be seen in his “A Sonnet for a Clothesline”, where a preoccupation with a clothesline embodies his concern with the linearity of life’s progression over the fluttering transience of “[b]eautiful sparrows”.

The grittiness and depth of Znaidi’s grasp on the fundamental wellsprings of life (which he holds in common with Leonard Cohen, so little wonder for his appreciation of the singer-songwriter, as evidenced in the Prologue) is conveyed in terms of “an endless orgasmic trembling / of lust” in “A Dying Lust”. The elemental nature of things stripped bare of the need to conform to the stifling demands of a society that is concerned more with external show than inward emotions and feelings is revealed in the personified encounter between clothing and the body in “against suffocation theory”. A riveting contrast between maturity, in the form of spent passion, and the lightness and fleeting happiness of youthful fancy can be seen in “Snow Is Made up of Aphrodite’s Teeth”. 

The seriousness of “A S/tar”, which reflects how the world besmirches that which is essentially refined and noble, is alleviated by the relative levity of “Stainless Wit in Every / Direction”, which is an ironical reflection on the questionable uniformity of structure that an electronic networking medium, such as Twitter, has on the multifariousness of messages that it relays. Znaidi’s delight in playing with words can also be seen in “A”, where homophones are bandied around with glee. That the poet has a penchant for experimenting with poetic form as well as with poetic diction can be seen in his use of “A Little Haibun”.

The political undertones of “a new kind of brew”, in his awareness of the presence of “infusion+fermentation”, show that his interests are anything but ephemeral. The immediacy of the visual imagery that permeates Znaidi’s work is explored in the many aspects of the colour blue that he evokes in “a blue composite”. In addition, the fecundity of the poet’s sensual awareness of the body corporeal once more comes to the fore in “Ease is a Pair of Stockings Torn Away”.

Ali Znaidi, a Tunisian secondary school teacher of English, lives in Redeyef, Tunisia, and has had many of his poems published in a wide range of magazines and journals worldwide. In addition to Experimental Ruminations, Znaidi has published three other chapbooks: Moon’s Cloth Embroidered with Poems (Origami Poems Project, 2012), Bye, Donna Summer! (Fowlpox Press, 2014), and Taste of the Edge (Kind of a Hurricane Press, 2014). His collection of flash fiction, titled Green Cemetery (Moment Publications, 2014), is of landmark importance, as it is the first Tunisian flash fiction collection to be originally written and published in the English language. The diversity of his interests and the fundamental universality of his concerns make him a poet to be reckoned with on an international front.

You can check out the original review here.




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