The Rebel's Silhouette: Selected Poems

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Univ of Massachusetts Press, 1991 - Poetry - 102 pages
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Born in India and considered the leading poet on the South Asian subcontinent, Faiz Ahmed Faiz (1911-1984) was a two-time Nobel nominee and winner of the 1962 Lenin Peace Prize. His evening readings in Hindi/Urdu-speaking regions drew thousands of listeners. Associated with the Communist party in his youth, Faiz became an outspoken poet in opposition to the Pakistani government. He was also a professor of English literature, a distinguished editor and a major figure in the Afro-Asian writer's movement. This volume offers a selection of Faiz's poetry in a bilingual Urdu/English edition with a new introduction by poet and translator Agha Shahid Ali.

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The rebel's silhouette

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Unknown to Western readers, the romantic poetry of Faiz (1910-84) is surprisingly fresh and passionate. Faiz was a famous Pakistani writer and public figure who became so popular in the Soviet Union ... Read full review

Selected pages


Last Night
Dont Ask Me for That Love Again
August 1952
Two Elegies
In Search of Vanished Blood
The City from Here
Black Out
Let Me Think
The Heart Gives Up
Stay Away from Me Bangladesh I

We Who Were Executed
Solitary Confinement
A Letter from Prison
A Night in the Desert

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Page xxiii - I, too, am a translated man. I have been borne across. It is generally believed that something is always lost in translation; I cling to the notion — and use, in evidence, the success of Fitzgerald-Khayyam — that something can also be gained.
Page xxv - And just before the lights did flood her again, melting the frost of her diamond into rays, it was, like this turning dark of fog, a moment when only a lost sea can be heard, a time to recollect every shadow, everything the earth was losing, a time to think of everything the earth and I had lost, of all that I would lose, of all that I was losing.
Page xxv - Lost, is it, buried? One more missing piece? But nothing's lost. Or else: all is translation And every bit of us is lost in it (Or found — I wander through the ruin of S Now and then, wondering at the peacefulness...
Page x - ... old lime at the end! All our writing is silent, the dance of the hand, So that what it comes down to's all mime, at the end. Dust and ashes? How dainty and dry! we decay To our messy primordial slime at the end. Two frail arms of your delicate form I pursue. Inaccessible, vibrant, sublime at the end. You gathered all manner of flowers all day, But your hands were most fragrant of thyme, at the end.
Page xiii - ... masnavi, qita) and transform them before his readers rather than break from the old forms. You could hear old and new together. His purity and precision were astonishing, and you must imagine therefore a poet whose poetry combined the sensuousness of Yeats with the power of Neruda. He was, I think, one of the greatest poets of this century, and was honored as such throughout the major part of Asia and Africa.
Page xv - The rediscovery of the lost rudiments of poetry may help to solve the question of theme: if they still have validity they confirm the intuition of the Welsh poet Alun Lewis who wrote just before his death in Burma, in March 1944, of "the single poetic theme of Life and Death . . . the question of what survives of the beloved.
Page xxiii - Omar Khayyam's position as a poet is curious. He was never very popular in his native Persia; and he exists in the West in a...
Page xii - I made, at twenty, in a poem: call me a poet dear editor they call this my alien language i am a dealer in words that mix cultures and leave me rootless (Lines 1-6, "Dear Editor,

About the author (1991)

Faiz Ahmed Faiz was not only a prize-winning poet, but also a professor of English Literature, a distinguished editor, and a major figure in the Afro-Asian writer's movement.

Agha Shahid Ali is on the M.F.A poetry faculty at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. His most recent books of poetry are A Nostalgist's Map of America and The Beloved Witness: Selected Poems.

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