A KALEIDOSCOPE OF STORIES – Muslim Voices in Contemporary Poetry

The poets appearing in this anthology are seekers, teachers, artists, parents, activists and much more. From every continent and spanning generations, their collective experiences appear in verses of love, devotion, grief and healing, as they take us on a journey through cityscapes and the natural beauty of the world we live in. Through their insights and inspirations we find ourselves in London, New York, Istanbul, Fez, Damascus and Makka, in mosques and at sacred sites, in deserts, mountains, and under towering redwoods, in heart-opening moments of connection. Their poetry navigates all the seasons of life, reflecting and meditating through their outward and inward pilgrimages upon our relationships to those around us and to the Divine.

A KALEIDOSCOPE OF STORIES – Muslim Voices in Contemporary Poetry brings together the myriad voices of eighty Muslim poets from diverse backgrounds to powerfully articulate what it means to be Muslim in the modern world. It provides a platform for Muslim voices to be heard speaking about their experiences in their own words, and offers an antidote to the stereotyped, one-dimensional portrayal of Muslims we see so often in the media.

The anthology gives the reader a glimpse of the thoughts, hopes and challenges of those who see the world through two or more cultural lenses and provides an authentically Muslim space for the expression of our spiritual, social and personal lives. It brings together the verses of multi-generational voices exploring themes including love and loss, identity and belonging and Islamic spirituality.

Read about the poets here.

To read some quotes from the poets included in the anthology, have a look at our blog, or follow us on facebook or Instagram @lotetreepress.

Half of the profits from this publication will go to charity to provide food and clean water to those in need.

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Praise for A Kaleidoscope of Stories

‘A Kaleidoscope of Stories is a volume to celebrate in the world of poetry. Never before have so many Muslim voices in contemporary poetry been collected in the same place. It’s a powerful contribution to the poetry scene.’

William Sieghart, Founder of the Forward Prizes for Poetry and National Poetry Day, Author of The Poetry Pharmacy

‘This stupendous kaleidoscope of contemporary Muslim poetry transports the reader vertically and horizontally through a constellation of scintillating worlds that stretch and extend the imagination. Every voyage leads to deeper faculties of perception and feeling and a fuller sense of what it means to be a human being seeking meaning, purpose, wonder and wisdom. By bringing together this extensive collection of poems, Lote Tree Press has rendered a tremendous service to present and future generations of reflecting hearts and minds.’

Luqman Ali, Artistic Director of Khayaal Theatre Company

‘A Kaleidoscope of Stories takes you on a journey of contemporary voices of emerging experiences, reflections and musings, primarily from a Western Muslim perspective. There are the voices of wisdom such as the late Abdal-Hayy Moore and Abdalhamid Evans and the more youthful Raqaya Esime Fetuga. Then there are those who travel the tightrope of diversity, difference and change, and of course many of the poems reflect the deeply felt spiritual journeys that come both with elation, longing and even pain… This collection is about the here and now, the people who have followed the same paths as you, who struggle with the same struggles and who have opened their hearts in verse. I think the variety of experiences reflected in the collection will appeal to different moods and will resonate in particular with those, like me, who are not so able to put similar feelings down on paper… As my late husband would often say those that we consider to be classical writers today such as the Shakespeares and the John Donnes or the Hafiz and Rumi were in their day contemporaries of their time, space and context writing what they saw, felt and experienced. The future classical poets, writers and Muslim commentators are emerging right now and it is so exciting to witness it.’

Humera Khan, An-Nisa Society

‘This 532 page anthology is comprised of poems from 80 mostly contemporary Muslim poets writing in English and from a few pioneers who have left this transitory realm, such as our dear brother, Daniel Abd al-Hayy Moore رحمه الله. One of the ground-breaking features of this unique anthology is that about half of its contributors are women … This should be among the required texts for classes in contemporary Islam and transnational literature.’

Dr. Alan ʿAbd al-Haqq Godlas, Associate Professor of Religion, University of Georgia

‘The editors of this edition, and the poets within its pages, are to be commended for allowing those of us whose tongue is English to receive a drink from the cup of unity and eternal love.’

Baraka Blue, Poet, Director of Rumi Center for Spirituality and the Arts

Symphonies of Theophanies: Moroccan Meditations – Peter Dziedzic

A journey through the spiritual landscape of Morocco in verse, poetry and prose

Our newest publication is an immersive photo poetry journal taking the reader on a journey through the spiritual and religious landscape of Morocco, known as the land of saints. Dziedzic succeeds in transporting us to a sacred realm through the meditative jewel-like verse, anecdotes and photos in the pages of this book.

The perennial human journey is the path of remembrance; the path of recalling creation’s origins and of seeing the Divine root in all things. The Sufis of Morocco cultivate this attitude through dhikr, spiritual practices inculcating perpetual God-consciousness. For this reason, Morocco has become known as balad al-awliyāʾ, the land of saints.
This collection of poetry, prose, and photography offers gleams of light and beauty from the balad al-awliyāʾ. Symphonies of Theophanies: Moroccan Meditations invites the reader to short meditations, a personal dhikr, through inspiration from the traditions of Moroccan Sufism, a shimmering mine of spiritual wisdom. In each instant lies the seeds of transcendence – a hidden theophany and a secret heartsong yearning for the heavens. This collection is a symphony of such moments, such heartsongs.

Symphonies of Theophanies – Moroccan Meditations is now available from online booksellers and bookshops.

“As someone who has lived in Morocco for many years, I found this work particularly inspiring and insightful. The author interweaves beautiful black and white photographs with strands of poetry and prose to take us to sacred places and introduce us to holy people usually hidden from visitors, giving us a true and delightful taste of the spiritual tradition that is still alive here. We will definitely be adding this book to the preparatory reading we recommend to students and others in future cultural exchange programs, but it is also a book that will resonate for seekers in any spiritual tradition wherever they might be.”
– Michael Abdurrahman Fitzgerald
Co-founder, The Center for Language & Culture,
Marrakesh, Morocco

All the Birds Were Invited to a Feast in the Sky – Soukeyna Osei-Bonsu

This is a book which excavates identity and self-knowledge, a journey from the spiritual realm which also attempts to stitch whole the frayed fibres of diasporic belonging. The areas explored range from Africa to spiritual awakening taking the reader on a journey to self. 

i share this with you all
because a green boat
has since come to collect me

i saw a ghanaian fisherman
moored on the thames 
and i didn’t think twice 
as i sailed away 

Soukeyna Osei-Bonsu’s verse evokes the beauty of the earthly and spiritual realms of human experience, navigating a poetic course from London to Ghana through themes of belonging and faith.

in the basement of the heart
cartographies of dispossession occupy the rhythm

Her poems dance at the intersection between the mundane and the sacred, weaving the everyday through with perceptions of the eternal, the ancient and the evanescent.

i thumb through each black orb, counting the time
breath and matter, life and death, another human story
with the same rosary that made its way to me
that may outlive my fingers
purchase these nights before they purchase you
rain pouring into the lake at lordship rec
and a hundred and one purple clouds pulsating-
the edge of our galaxy almost visible 
through the london smog