This imaginatively conceived volume presents highly
original renderings of the ghazals of the poet Mirza Ghalib (1797-1869) made by
seven well-known American poets. The ghazals is the basic poetic form in Urdu
poetry, and is marked by easily identifiable patterns of imagery. Ghalib used it
to effectively express his sense of old values breaking up and nothing of equal
strength taking their place.
After making a literal translation of thirty seven of Ghalib's ghazals. Aijaz
Ahmad gave them tot he American poets for a poetic interpretation of those that
interested them. The resulting variety of interpretation is remarkable, and
indicates the evocative richness of Ghalib's poetry.
Offering fascinating insights into the work of this major Indian poet and
poetic creation in general, this volume also includes Aijaz Ahmad's lucid
Introduction (which provides the context for Ghalib's verse and the ghazal in
Urdu poetry), the literal translations with helpful explanatory notes, and poems
by the American poets written in response to Ghalib's ghazals.
This creative volume is for all lovers of Mirza Ghalib's verse as well as for
those interested in how poets and poems from different parts of the world can
speak to each other.
About the Author:
Aijaz Ahmad is Visiting Professor of Political Science, York University,
Toronto, and holds the Rajiv Gandhi Chair at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New
Delhi. He is the author of In Theory (OUP, 1992) and Lineages of the
Present (Verso, 2000).
Excerpts from Reviews:
'...this [volume] testifies to the fact Ghalib can speak to the modern
English-speaking world in a way that evokes a deep response.'
- Ralph Russell, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society
'The language of both the literal as well as the poetic translation is grand,
almost majestic...On the whole, [it serves] its purpose effectively, for it
places the reader face to face with a poet par excellence...'
- The Weekend Observer
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