The collection, Ashes in the Air, by Dr Ali Alizadeh from the School of English, Communications and Performance Studies, deals with matters such as injustice and political violence, history and mortality, and provocative philosophical ideas.
Dr Alizadeh said that he was honoured to be shortlisted alongside some of Australia’s greatest poets.
“I also feel relieved that my book, which is quite an unusual and disputatious work, has received mainstream recognition,” Dr Alizadeh said.
“Much of contemporary Australian poetry is rather light and jokey, so it’s very nice and reaffirming for me to be acknowledged for the sort of direct and serious work that I do.”
Dr Alizadeh said that he started writing the poems in China and continued to develop them over the course of his travels to Turkey, the Middle East, and ultimately upon his return to Australia.
“My initial impulse was perhaps to express my frustrations with a so-called communist country that struck me as a rather status-obsessed, consumerist, and extremely unequal, capitalist society,” Dr Alizadeh said.
“I then decided to move to Turkey, and my focus changed to issues surrounding my own personal history and background. A lot of what I saw in Turkey reminded me of some of the more traumatic aspects of my childhood in Iran.
“One of the best-reviewed poems in the collection, ‘The History of the Veil’, is a reflection on the black comedy of the clash between Islamic fundamentalism and Western imperialism, a discourse that’s sadly alive and well in the Middle East.
“I also became a father in Turkey and that experience made me more pensive and less angsty.”
Dr Alizadeh is also working on a novel, due to be published in 2013, and an academic monograph of contemporary Australian poetry.
The Prime Minister’s Literary Awards are the nation’s richest awards for literature. A prize of $80,000 will be awarded to the final winner in each of the award categories of fiction, non-fiction, Australian history, poetry, young adult fiction and children’s fiction.
Reproduced with thanks from the Monash News Blog.
Conference of the Contemporary Women’s Writing Association
The Fifth Biennial International Conference of the Contemporary Women’s Writing Association CONTEMPORARY WOMEN’S WRITING AND…
The Real Through Line: A Poetry Symposium
This cross-institutional, multi-disciplinary symposium brings together leading scholars and practitioners interested in the poetry of…
Dissensus: A Festival of New and Oppositional Writing
Presented by Monash University Centre for Postcolonial Writing 21 September 2012 10am-3pm MUMA – Monash…
Austral + Asia
Cultural Space, Theatricality and the Performance of Asia in Australasia 15 -16 November 2012 Performing…
Writers and their World Seminar Series
12 March Visions of England and Englishness in E.M. Forster’s Non-Fiction Professor Trevor Harris Forster’s…
Physical address Room E581 Building 11 (Menzies Building) Clayton Campus Postal address School of Languages,…
Events – Introduction
Staff and students of Monash, as well as visiting artists, delight audiences through the Lunchtime…