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A Map of Longings

A Map of Longings

Life and Works of Agha Shahid Ali

Manan Kapoor
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This first definitive biography of Agha Shahid Ali offers a rich portrait of the poet and the world he inhabited. Shahid was widely regarded as one of the finest poets from the Indian subcontinent, and his works are read across the world, touching millions of lives. A pioneer of ghazal writing in English, he wrote extensively about loss, nostalgia and home. A witness to the conflict that ravaged his homeland Kashmir, a loss he lamented in his collection The Country Without a Post Office, Shahid has today become a symbol of hope in a violent world.
In this biography, Manan Kapoor recounts the concerns that shaped Shahid’s life and works as he follows the footsteps of ‘The Beloved Witness’ from Kashmir to New Delhi and finally to the United States. He charts Shahid’s friendships with figures like Begum Akhtar and James Merrill, and the lives he touched with his compassion and love. He also traces the complex evolution of his evocative verses that mapped various cultures and geographies, and mourned acts of injustices and losses, both personal and political. Drawing on various unpublished materials and in-depth interviews with his family, friends, students and others who knew him, Kapoor narrates the riveting story of a major literary voice and his poetic vision, revealing not just what he wrote, but how he taught the world to live.

Imprint: Vintage Books

Published: May/2021

ISBN: 9780670092772

Length : 256 Pages

MRP : ₹499.00

A Map of Longings

Life and Works of Agha Shahid Ali

Manan Kapoor

This first definitive biography of Agha Shahid Ali offers a rich portrait of the poet and the world he inhabited. Shahid was widely regarded as one of the finest poets from the Indian subcontinent, and his works are read across the world, touching millions of lives. A pioneer of ghazal writing in English, he wrote extensively about loss, nostalgia and home. A witness to the conflict that ravaged his homeland Kashmir, a loss he lamented in his collection The Country Without a Post Office, Shahid has today become a symbol of hope in a violent world.
In this biography, Manan Kapoor recounts the concerns that shaped Shahid’s life and works as he follows the footsteps of ‘The Beloved Witness’ from Kashmir to New Delhi and finally to the United States. He charts Shahid’s friendships with figures like Begum Akhtar and James Merrill, and the lives he touched with his compassion and love. He also traces the complex evolution of his evocative verses that mapped various cultures and geographies, and mourned acts of injustices and losses, both personal and political. Drawing on various unpublished materials and in-depth interviews with his family, friends, students and others who knew him, Kapoor narrates the riveting story of a major literary voice and his poetic vision, revealing not just what he wrote, but how he taught the world to live.

Select Preferred Format

Manan Kapoor

Manan Kapoor is the author of The Lamentations of a Sombre Sky, which was shortlisted for Sahitya Akademi's Yuva Puruskar 2017. He was a writer-in-residence at Sangam House writers' residency in 2019. His writings have appeared in Boston Review, Caravan, The Hindu, Scroll, Firstpost and TheWire.in among other publications.