A Muslim-American poet and novelist of Indian descent, Kazim Ali's work has been featured in Best American Poetry and the American Poetry Review. He teaches at Oberlin College.
For Ali, the assignment became deeply personal. About his poem, "The Wrestler," Ali writes that he found inspiration in an ancient Greek mythological story about Meleager and Atalanta wrestling — and themes of power and love. "The wrestler of my poem," Ali writes, "does not believe what he's read in 'heaven's books,' but rather the intuition that his own breath and body, in movement with another, offer him."