Mir Mahfuz Ali
(Bangladesh, 1958)   
Mir Mahfuz Ali

Mir Mahfuz Ali was born in Dhaka, Bangladesh in 1958. He studied at Essex University and the City Literary Institute in London. He dances, acts and has worked as a male model and a tandoori chef. As a performer, he is renowned for his extraordinary voice – a rich, throaty whisper brought about by a Bangladeshi policeman trying to silence the singing of anthems during a public anti-war demonstration. Currently he is an active member of the organisation Exiled Writers Ink.

He has given readings and performances at venues including the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Bedlam Theatre at the Edinburgh Festival, and the National Theatre of Slovenia (Cankarjev Dom) in Lujbljana. His poetry has appeared in London Magazine, Poetry London, Ambit, Index on Censorship and Exiled Writers Ink! Currently he is preparing his first collection for publication in 2007.

Mir Mahfuz Ali has written of his poetry, “I want the taste to linger in the readers’ mouths and on their skin.” His writing does indeed bring the sensuousness of a Bengali tradition to the English language, and poems can be reminiscent of those of the Bengali poet Jibanananda Das (1899-1954), palpable, tending towards rapture, yet unflinchingly revealing of trauma and extreme events. Mir Mahfuz Ali’s work displays formal skill and considerable rigour and ambition. Childlike wonder blends with sophisticated reconstruction. He recreates a vivid Bangladesh, bringing personal and political history into a searing present, but he can also convey, with idiosyncrasy, aspects of his life in Britain.

© Moniza Alvi


Fellowship of the Exiles
An article at The Christian Science Monitor

Exiled Writers Ink! - Voices in a Strange Land


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