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The Country Without a Post Office

4.25  ·  Rating Details ·  294 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
"Translucent elegies 'for the city that is leaving forever' (Srinagar) from one of its sons, who also happens to be one of America's finest younger poets."—John Ashbery
Paperback, 96 pages
Published April 17th 1998 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 1997)
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Faisal  Buzdar
Nov 06, 2016 Faisal Buzdar rated it really liked it
I had heard a lot about Agha Shahid Ali's poetry, but never got a chance to read it until recently when I came across this book in a bookshop in Islamabad. The book is mainly set in Kashmir, a place with historical depth and rich cultural heritage, currently torn apart by occupation. Agha Shahid's poetry is about resistance, loss, nostalgia, hope and longing. His imagery is powerful and vivid and repertoire of words and metaphors expansive. At certain points, he alludes to historical events that ...more
Soo Na
Jan 31, 2008 Soo Na rated it it was amazing
"My history gets in the way of your memory"
Bernie Gourley
Jul 19, 2016 Bernie Gourley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: poetry lovers and those interested in the Kashmiri conflict.
This is a collection of 27 poems about life in conflict-riddled Kashmir. Kashmir is a territory in the Himalayas that’s governed by India, but claimed by both India and Pakistan—and, it should be noted, has a significant population of residents that want to be part of neither country. In other words, there are some who’d like to see an independent Kashmir. However, at the moment Kashmir is one portion of one of India’s 29 states, Jammu and Kashmir—a state which is, itself, tripartite (Hindu Jamm ...more
Huzaafa Yousuf
Jun 18, 2014 Huzaafa Yousuf rated it it was amazing
Poignant is the word for this. I'm pretty sure if one stares too long at the words it feels as if they're written in blood, not ink.
Beautiful.
Tristan
Jun 26, 2015 Tristan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
This hymn to Kashmir captured me and held me tightly in Agha Shahid Ali's exile. Like Rooms Are Never Finished: Poems, The Country Without a Post Office is a collection of distinct, beautiful lyrics that holds together with a sort of emotional gel into a cohesive, elegant whole. Each poem is at once extremely personal, and a reflection on the universal exile experience--Shahid (as he calls himself in his Ghazals) realizes that he is not the only exile and that everyone who is missing from his ho ...more
Steven
Mar 06, 2008 Steven rated it liked it
Among the grave subjects traveled through in this collection of Mr. Ali’s poems, which all stem from the political wars in his homeland of Kashmir, the most disturbing and affecting one for me is his inability to speak of his love and desire for other men. It’s ironic that, in his poems, Mr. Ali criticizes the government of his country for silencing the letters and voices of its people, examines the chasm between history and memory and repeatedly asks what is learned from the past, yet in his m ...more
Bethany
Oct 08, 2012 Bethany rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry-class
He is not my favorite poet. I think, despite most of the imagery and wording being very interesting and beautiful, that I would enjoy it a lot more if I had been raised in Kashmir the same time he was. I think a lot of his poetry requires background knowledge that I simply don't have. That alone decreases my enjoyment of the book, as I constantly felt like there was a meaning just barely beyond my grasp. I didn't really understand any of the poems, what he was talking about. That frustrated me. ...more
English Education
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Naomi
Oct 23, 2011 Naomi rated it really liked it
The 4 stars is probably my fault. I'm thick, and some of the later poems I just did not connect with. Ali is a brilliant poet, and these poems of diaspora, of longing and rage over what is unjustly lost--his home in Kashmir--resonate with an exquisitely wrought pain. Certain stanzas nearly brought me to my knees, and I read them over and over. These poems bring to mind Darwish's UNFORTUNATELY IT WAS PARADISE--and he does tip his cap to Darwish in his poems--but with more of an edge, more of a tr ...more
Yaqeen Sikander
Sep 30, 2013 Yaqeen Sikander rated it really liked it
Awesomely written...brought tears to my eyes....
Jennifer
Jun 02, 2014 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, owned
While at the Art Institute in Chicago, Jessa & I saw Nilima Sheikh's exhibit, "Each Night Put Kashmir in Your Dreams." There was a lot of text interwoven in the art, and Jessa and I had some divergent opinions about the appropriateness of such intermingling. I came down in favor of the text. The exhibit itself was inspired by poetry, particularly the poem, "I see Kashmir from Ne Delhi at Midnight" by Ali. I was intrigued by the exhibition, so when I saw a collection of Ali's poems in the mus ...more
Phayvanh
Nov 02, 2008 Phayvanh rated it liked it
Shelves: reviews, poetry, 2008
You might get more information from this book if you know about the political history of the events that are talked about, or even of Kashmir itself. I didn't, and not much else in the book helped me to learn about it. (Notes, back-or-the-book blurb, etc.)

Because of this, one can read the book as I did, for the quality and enjoyment of the poetry itself. Ali explores Eastern and Western traditional forms to great success. And as a whole, the book ends up being a collective of lost missives, unab
...more
Jess
Nov 08, 2008 Jess rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Beautiful poetry from a Kashmiri-born poet who describes himself as a multiple-exile. But be warned: to fully appreciate the poetry, you'll want to investigate ALL the references in each poem, because the references add layers of meaning to the poetry to create a richness and thoughtfulness while enduring the multiplicity of identity in a war-torn Kashmir.
Sayantan Ghosh
Jun 07, 2015 Sayantan Ghosh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Memories of an invaded home, of wounds gathered by the people of Kashmir since we waged a war in her name and children roamed her bleeding streets with machine guns in hand.
Babar Iqbal
Mar 18, 2013 Babar Iqbal rated it really liked it
I must say..a creative genius,a maverick poet who defied the conventional boundaries of modern poetry and who could depict the anguish ,pain and longing of diaspora.....
Justin Dowd
Justin Dowd rated it liked it
May 16, 2011
Rohit Singh
Rohit Singh rated it really liked it
May 09, 2014
Jeff
Jeff rated it really liked it
Dec 09, 2008
Gauraa  Shekhar
Gauraa Shekhar rated it it was amazing
Oct 20, 2016
John Reed
John Reed rated it it was amazing
Dec 21, 2013
Ami
Ami rated it it was amazing
Jun 21, 2010
Sheikh Tajamul
Sheikh Tajamul rated it liked it
Nov 10, 2015
Muhammed Afzal P
Muhammed Afzal P rated it really liked it
Nov 21, 2015
Apostropha
Apostropha rated it it was amazing
Aug 07, 2014
Bharathy
Bharathy rated it it was amazing
Oct 02, 2016
Rorz
Rorz rated it it was amazing
Jul 05, 2012
Jordan
Jordan rated it liked it
Jan 20, 2012
Qubra Wani
Qubra Wani rated it really liked it
Dec 21, 2013
Ching-In
Ching-In rated it it was amazing
Nov 09, 2008
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Agha Shahid Ali (आगा शाहीद अली) was an American poet of Kashmiri ancestry and upbringing.

His poetry 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 (finalist for the National Book Award, 2001). His last book was Call Me Ishmael Tonight, a collection of English ghazals. His poems
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