Agha Shahid Ali

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Agha Shahid Ali
Born February, 1949
Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, India
Died 8 December 2001
Amherst, Massachusetts
Nationality Indian
Ethnicity Kashmiri
Alma mater University of Kashmir Hindu College, University of Delhi Pennsylvania State University (Phd) and University of Arizona (MFA)
Occupation Professor and Poet
Known for National Book Award 2001 Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Arts, US & Canada
Notable credit(s) The Country Without a Post Office, Rooms Are Never Finished and The Rebel's Silhouette
Religion Islam
Denomination Shia

Agha Shahid Ali (February 1949, Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir - 8 December 2001 Amherst, Massachusetts) was a poet.[1][2] His collections include A Walk Through the Yellow Pages, The Half-Inch Himalayas, A Nostalgist's Map of America, The Country Without a Post Office, Rooms Are Never Finished, the latter a finalist for the National Book Award in 2001.

The University of Utah Press awards the Agha Shahid Ali Poetry Prize annually "in memory of a celebrated poet and beloved teacher".[3]


Agha Shahid Ali was educated at the University of Kashmir and the Hindu College, University of Delhi.[1] He earned a Ph.D. in English from Pennsylvania State University in 1984, and an M.F.A. from the University of Arizona in 1985.[1] He held teaching positions at nine universities and colleges in India and the United States.[1]


Ali expressed his love and concern for his people in The Country Without a Post Office, written with the Kashmir conflict as backdrop.[4] He was a translator of the Urdu poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz (The Rebel's Silhouette; Selected Poems),[5] and the editor for the Middle East and Central Asia segment of Jeffery Paine's Poetry of Our World.[6]

He compiled the volume Ravishing DisUnities: Real Ghazals in English. His last book was Call Me Ishmael Tonight, a collection of English ghazals, and his poems are featured in American Alphabets: 25 Contemporary Poets (2006) and other anthologies. Ghat of the only world written by Amitav Ghosh is a tribute of friend to Agha Shahid Ali. Ali was the close friend of Amitav Ghosh.

Ali taught at the MFA Program for Poets & Writers at University of Massachusetts Amherst, at the MFA Writing Seminars at Bennington College as well as at creative writing programs at University of Utah, Baruch College, Warren Wilson College, Hamilton College and New York University. He died of brain cancer in December 2001 and was buried in Northampton, Massachusetts.


  1. ^ a b c d "A Tribute to Agha Shahid Ali". Jacket Magazine. Retrieved 2 January 2010. 
  2. ^ An interethnic companion to Asian American literature. Cambridge University Press. Retrieved 2 January 2010. Contemporary South Asian American writers belong primarily to this middle and upper class: Indo-American Agha Shahid Ali, Meena Alexander, Bharati Mukherjee, Vikram Seth, Pakistani American Sara Suleria, Javaid Qazi, Indo-Canadian Rohinton Mistry, Uma Parameswaran, Sri Lankan Canadian Michael Ondaatje, and Indo-Guyanese Canadian Cyril Dabydeen, among others. 
  3. ^ "Agha Shahid Ali Poetry Prize". Retrieved 18 January 2015. 
  4. ^ "'The Ghat Of The Only World': Agha Shahid Ali in Brooklyn". Outlook. Retrieved 2 January 2010. 
  5. ^ Book Excerptise:Rebel's Silhouette (extended extracts and literary history)
  6. ^ Poetry of Our World (excerpts)


External links[edit]

  1. ^