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The Country Without a Post Office

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Agha Shahid Ali, around 1998 (Image from the interview for the ‘Poets of New England’ series with William Moebius) By Steffen Horstmann Forever   Do you seek, like Jonah, to be elusive forever– To live like an ascetic, reclusive forever?   You traversed deserts & abide in a mirage, Within the shade of a fig & olive forever.   The temple scribe said you were fated to stray In radiant absence, as wind lisps its narrative forever.   Sand rises around you, a volatile vacuum–O escape To the mind’s habitable star, fugitive forever.   In a vision you emerge from

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Agha Shahid Ali, around 1998 (Image from the interview for the ‘Poets of New England’ series with William Moebius) If There Is a Poet, It Is This, It Is This The passing away of Agha Shahid Ali in 2001 was a collective loss to Kashmir- the most eloquent Kashmiri-English poet, a writer of unmatched elegance and virtuosity, a chronicler of pain- his poetry is the very stuff of beauty, loss and redemption. His death deprived Kashmir of one of its most potent cultural voices, a voice that would have done more good than any Track 1 or Track 11 effort.

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By Fahad Shah In my heart your words reverberate, the heart beats jingle to the rhythm of your poetry. I read you as you wrote the treasure. I try to map a path to your heart. The generous human which you were. I lost you when I didn’t know you well. I am unfortunate that I couldn’t see you, that I couldn’t meet you, that I couldn’t hear you reciting your treasure Shahid, today I write to you from your very own vale- Kashmir. Of whom you were the beloved witness. You loved us all. You wrote for all. You

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    By Irfan Hassan The Final Collections: Call Me Ishmael Tonight: A Book of Ghazals and Rooms Are Never Finished: Poems On a hot summer evening of 1988, I spotted Aga Shahid Ali on the Residency Road buying Paans at Mir Paan House (his favourite Paan shop). At the first glance he did not recognise me, but welcomed me with a big smile, as he would welcome any friend or stranger. I had last seen Shahid in my childhood. When I introduced myself he gave me a warm hug and introduced me to his companion Rouf Rathore telling him about

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