Ali, Agha Shahid 2001

Wednesday, April 4, 2001


At dawn you leave. The river wears its skin of light.
And I trace love’s loss to the origin of light.
“I swallow down the goodbyes I won’t get to use.”
At grief’s speed she waves from a palanquin of light.

– Agha Shahid Ali, “Of Light”

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Read this interview with Agha Shahid Ali from Poets&Writers:

An Interview With Poet Agha Shahid Ali

On December 8, 2001, Kashmiri-American poet Agha Shahid Ali died of brain cancer at the age of 52. Ali taught creative writing at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst for seven years, and published eight books of poetry, including Rooms Are Never Finished (Norton, 2001), which was a finalist for the National Book Award.

We shall meet again, in Srinagar,
by the gates of the Villa of Peace,
our hands blossoming into fists
till the soldiers return the keys
and disappear. Again we’ll enter
our last world, the first that vanished.

– Agha Shahid Ali, “A Pastoral”

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Watch this interview with Agha Shahid Ali and his brother for NPR:

Izhar Patkin: Agha Shahid Ali on All Things Considered

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More info on Agha Shahid Ali⇒

Agha Shahid Ali was born in New Delhi, India in 1949. He arrived in the United States in 1975 and was the recipient of numerous fellowships and awards, and was also a finalist for the National Book Award. His poetry reflects his Hindu, Muslim, and Western heritages, often blending forms and cultures. Ali was also a translator, translating most notably the work of Urdu poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz into English. He died in December 2001 at the age of 52.