Light and Heavy Things: Selected Poems of Zeeshan Sahil


Light and Heavy Things provides US readers an opportunity to discover the late Pakistani poet Zeeshan Sahil. Sahil's work conveys his post-modern sensibility with plain language, presenting political realities of Pakistan in personal terms.

Be afraid of poets
They have ...

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Light and Heavy Things: Selected Poems of Zeeshan Sahil

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Light and Heavy Things provides US readers an opportunity to discover the late Pakistani poet Zeeshan Sahil. Sahil's work conveys his post-modern sensibility with plain language, presenting political realities of Pakistan in personal terms.

Be afraid of poets
They have hand grenade dreams
If you let your words slip
They will throw them against the wall
If you try to snatch them back
They will hide them under water

Zeeshan Sahil was born in Hyderabad, Sindh, in 1961. He published eight collections of poetry in Urdu as well as critical articles and texts for broadcast on radio.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Plainspoken and image-driven, Sahil’s poems rarely break a page but offer complex portraits of contemporary Pakistani life in which nature, city, war, and human emotion all entwine with the quotidian. This slim volume of selected poems is the first of Sahil’s work available in English, and the poems span over 15 years of his writing. At times the poems seem driven by personal longing: “I stared out the window./ Dreams built their nests in my eyes,/ and the cage was empty.” At others, their force can be of the collective and political kind: “Always in the city/ on our way from here to there/ we are afraid… newspapers/ like firecrackers/ all day/ explode in our hands.” Throughout, Sahil’s lithe, compassionate voice infuses his subject matter with both human gravity and delicate luminosity: “In Karachi,/ birds that fly from trees/ live with us/ through the sounds of bullets and bombs;/ perch on walls; always/ they gather somewhere/ to pray.” This book marks a moving and timely glimpse into contemporary Pakistani literature. (June)
From the Publisher

A World Literature Today 'Nota Benes' for January/February 2014

"He makes his point in such a quiet way, in such a vulnerable, elegant, this-thin-glass-lightbulb-could-shatter-in-your-hands-at-any-minute way, that it’s disarming, astounding."—Nicolle Elizabeth, HTML Giant

“thematically coherent, well-composed–albeit brief–collection that places Sahil right up there with the best of contemporary Pakistani poets, alongside folks like Hasina Gul, Daniyal Mueenuddin, and Yasmeen Hameed.” -The Rumpus

“War and poor health besieged the Pakistani poet Zeeshan Sahil (1961–2008), but his spirit continues to shine brightly through these poems, illuminating a path of steadfast hope and affirmation of life.” - World Literature Today

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781938160127
  • Publisher: BOA Editions, Ltd.
  • Publication date: 6/4/2013
  • Series: Lannan Translations Selection Series
  • Pages: 104
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Zeeshan Sahil was born in Hyderabad, Sindh, in 1961 and went to school there. He started writing poetry in 1977 and has published eight collections of poetry in Urdu. His prose writings include critical articles and texts for broadcast on radio. He also had a brief association with the National Book Council of Pakistan. Described as a shy man, critics have praised Zeeshan Sahils poetry for its sensitivity and simplicity, as well as his post-modern approach.

Christopher Kennedy grew up in a working-class suburb of Syracuse, New York. He received a B.A. in English from LeMoyne College and a M.A. in Creative Writing/English from Syracuse University, where he is currently the Director of the M.F.A. Program in Creative Writing. Kennedy has published four collections of poetry: Ennui Prophet (BOA Editions 2011), Encouragement for a Man Falling to his Death (BOA Editions 2007) which recieved the Isabella Gardner Poetry Award in 2007, Nietzsche's Horse (Low Fidelity Press), Trouble with the Machine (Mitki/Mitki Press), as well as one chapbook of prose poems, Greatest Hits.

His writing has appeared in print and electronic journals including Ploughshares, The Threepenny Review, Double Room, and Del Sol Review, among many others. One of the founding editors of the literary journal 3rd Bed, Kennedy has received fellowships and awards from the Onondaga County Cultural Resource Center, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts.

Mi Ditmar was a student in the MFA program in Creative Writing at Syracuse University where she received the Joyce Carol Oates Award and the Delmore Schwartz Prize. Her poetry has appeared in Stone Canoe and her fiction has appeared in The Alaska Quarterly Review. She is a research project coordinator in the field of public health.

Faisal Siddiqui was born and raised in Karachi, Pakistan. He has been published in Salamander, Poet Lore and International Poetry Review and has upcoming publications in Malahat Review, Notre Dame Review
and New Letters.

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