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The Country Without a Post Office

4.21 of 5 stars 4.21  ·  rating details  ·  196 ratings  ·  15 reviews
This collection of poems by Kashmiri-American Agha Shahid Ali finds that contemporary history has forced him to return to his homeland, not with the ease of a tourist, but as a witness to the savagery visited upon Kashmir since the 1990 uprisings. These poems evoke the tragedy of his birthplace.
Paperback, 96 pages
Published April 17th 1998 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 1997)
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Faisal  Buzdar
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, whi ...more
Soo Na
"My history gets in the way of your memory"
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
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
Huzaafa Yousuf
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.
English Education
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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
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
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
Nov 08, 2008 Jess rated it 4 of 5 stars
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.
Babar Iqbal
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.....
Yaqeen Sikander
Awesomely written...brought tears to my eyes....
No wnder my letters kept coming back.
Aga give me more!
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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
More about Agha Shahid Ali...
Call Me Ishmael Tonight: A Book of Ghazals Rooms Are Never Finished: Poems The Veiled Suite: The Collected Poems The Half-Inch Himalayas A Nostalgist's Map of America: Poems

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