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Rooms Are Never Finished: Poems

4.23  ·  Rating Details ·  132 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
In this stunningly inventive collection—a finalist for the 2001 National Book Award in poetry—Ali excavates the devastation wrought upon his childhood home, Kashmir, and reveals a more personal devastation: his mother's death and the journey with her body back to Kashmir.
Paperback, 112 pages
Published March 17th 2003 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published November 1st 2001)
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Dec 19, 2008 Bobby rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, reviewed
Agha Shahid Ali was a Kashmiri-American poet who I don't think is very well known in the US. Years ago, I happened to hear one of his poems on the radio while I was driving and was completely blown away. Finally, I found a used copy of his poems. The "theme" of this book is his mother's death due to an illness, and him taking her body back to Kashmir per her wishes. As with any compilation, I was moved by the some poems, and not so much by the others. I especially liked his ghazals (a type of po ...more
Daniel Lee
Oct 27, 2008 Daniel Lee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely stunning. The first poem in the volume, "Lenox Hill" made me weep at Barnes & Noble the first time I read it. Some of Shahid's best ghazals also included.
Jan 29, 2017 Runwright rated it really liked it
Beautiful collection if you can get past the tears that the first few poems evokes. The underlying theme of the poems is grief and loss - at the death of his mother, at the inevitable change in his life and the loss of his home. And yet, there is so much more emotion contained here.
This book is my introduction to the late poet and I would like to read some of his earlier works.
Brian Wasserman
Feb 21, 2017 Brian Wasserman rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I dont understand the hype about this book, nothing special, there is some lyricism, but it is normal prose.
Oct 23, 2014 Tristan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was fabulous. I loved the way Agha's writing flows; every poem is a little masterpiece. "A Secular Comedy" was especially wonderful, as was "Summers of Translation," the third section of "From Amherst to Kashmir".
Every poem was brilliantly crafted; this is a bit from the title poem: "But for small invisible hands, no wall/ would be lacquered a rain forest's colors. Before,/ these walls had just mirrors (I tried on--for size--/kismet's barest air)". The poems were elegant, meaningful, packed
Sep 13, 2007 Shirley rated it really liked it
About being somewhere, but not really being there. Almost all the poems are about mourning, so they're better read on a rainy day or late in the day.
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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...

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