The Country Without a Post Office: Poems

The Country Without a Post Office: Poems

by Agha Shahid Ali, Ali, Agha Shahid Ali
     
 
A haunted and haunting volume that establishes this Kashmiri-American poet as aseminal voice writing in English. In this new collection, his most ambitious, Ali finds that contemporary history has forced him to return to his homeland, not with the ease of a tourist as he would have liked, but as a witness to the savagery visited upon Kashmir since the 1990 uprising

Overview

A haunted and haunting volume that establishes this Kashmiri-American poet as aseminal voice writing in English. In this new collection, his most ambitious, Ali finds that contemporary history has forced him to return to his homeland, not with the ease of a tourist as he would have liked, but as a witness to the savagery visited upon Kashmir since the 1990 uprising against Indian rule. Amid rain and fire and ruin, in a land of "doomed addresses," Ali evokes the tragedy of his birthplace. These are stunning poems, intensely musical steeped in history, myth, and politics all merging into Ali's truest mode, that of longing.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
This is the seventh book of poetry by Ali (A Nostalgist's Map of America, Norton, 1992), director of the writing program at the University of Massachusetts. The book is a poignant, nostalgic evocation of Kashmir, Ali's homeland, with a special emphasis on the events since 1990 when Kashmir rebelled against Indian rule. At the center of this devastation, with "mass rapes in the villages/ towns left in cinders," is the desecration in 1995 of the shrine of Sheikh Noor-ud-Din, the patron saint of Kashmir. This Hindu-Moslem conflict reminds Ali of similar genocidal wars in Bosnia and Armenia. But in Kashmir the blood of victims falls like "rubies/ on Himalayan snow" while "guns shoot stars into the sky." Kashmiri myth and culture hang like a tapestry around the poems, dramatizing the importance of saffron, paisley, the Shalimar Gardens and the ghazal (folk songs). Ali also alludes to Tacitus, Yeats, Dickinson, Shakespeare, and Eliot. With the population decimated and the post office destroyed, Ali's poems become "cries like dead letters," and the poet becomes "keeper of the minaret." Essential for all large collections.Daniel L. Guillory, Millikin Univ., Decatur, Ill.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393040579
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
04/01/1997
Pages:
96
Product dimensions:
5.93(w) x 8.55(h) x 0.63(d)

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