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Ali Alizadeh’s third book of poetry, Ashes in the Air, is a finely structured collection that speaks powerfully of transnational lives and identities. Global in their concerns, settings and perspectives, the poems in this collection move between the autobiographical and the polemical. Travel and migration are recurrent themes, as the autobiographic content traces an arch including a childhood in Tehran, adolescence on the Gold Coast, work as a teacher in Istanbul, Dubai and China, and time as a student and writer in Melbourne. The poems also trace the poet’s arguments and struggle with the larger forces shaping lives: ideologies, histories, cultures. At times angry, at other moments self-deprecating and playful, this book is an important contribution to Australian writing which – as is increasingly recognised – traverses borders, cultures and languages.