Mali is the author of Steady, My Gaze (Tebot Bach, 2011) and co-editor
with Annie Finch of the anthology, Villanelles (Everyman’s Library Pocket
Poets, 2012). From 2008-2011 she served as co-curator for LouderArts: The
Reading Series and from 2009-2012 she served as co-curator for the Page Meets
Stage reading series, both in New York City. For more information, please visit
Statement of Poetics
Praise this beautiful, terrible world where we are opened
and crushed. Where the kiss comes from a mouth that bites.
—Excerpt from “The Diver”
My work as a poet has always explored the complexities and contradictions of the world, from issues of identity informed by growing up between three vastly different cultures—New York, Venezuela, and Sweden—as well as issues of suffering and thriving in the world informed by my background as a health practitioner and long-term meditator. Poetry for me is in many ways a search for home. As someone who spoke three languages by the age of three, I’ve long been fascinated by the way language connects and divides us and have sought to find a way to connect deeply with people and places wherever I travel. My poems arise out of an image I see, a phrase I overhear, or with a sensation in my body as I’m having an experience that alerts me to pay attention: there may be a poem here. Writing poetry is a way for me to discover how I think and feel, a response to experience that seeks to understand and reach for something real. In this way, rather than preaching or telling a reader what to think, my work—through imagery, music, and narrative (if there is one)—reveals an alert consciousness responding to life as it unfolds.
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