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AMap of Longings

Release date: May 24, 2021
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Manan Kapoor is the author of The Lamentations of a Sombre Sky, which was shortlisted for the Sah... Read More

Product Description

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

This first definitive biography of Agha Shahid Ali offers a rich portrait of the poet and the world he inhabited.

"A scintillating portrait of one of the finest poets of the late 20th century"-Ranjit Hoskote

"Manan Kapoor's immersive study returns the poet to his roots, which are inescapably Indian-there's no other word for the syncretic mastery of the Hindi, Urdu and English traditions that shaped his work."-Jeet Thayil


Shahid is 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 explores the concerns that shaped Shahid's life and works, following in 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 looks at the lives the poet touched with his compassion and love. He also traces the complex evolution of Shahid's evocative verses, which mapped various cultures and geographies, and mourned injustice and loss, both personal and political. Drawing on various unpublished materials and in-depth interviews with Shahid's family, friends, students and acquaintances, Kapoor narrates the riveting story of a major literary voice and presents Shahid's poetic vision, revealing not just what he wrote but also how he taught the world to live.

Shahid called himself 'Kashmiri-American'. But for more than two decades he lived in India, with formative years in Delhi, before he emigrated to the United States. Manan Kapoor's immersive study returns the poet to his roots, which are inescapably Indian-there's no other word for the syncretic mastery of the Hindi, Urdu and English traditions that shaped his work.In A Map of Longings, Manan Kapoor draws a scintillating portrait of one of the finest poets of the late 20th century, whose influence has grown immeasurably in the two decades that have followed his far-too-early death in 2001. Kapoor's absorbing, immersive account presents Agha Shahid Ali as the superb literary artist he was, single-mindedly exploring the traditions of poetry and experimenting with its resources across several languages. Even as he contextualises Shahid's work critically, Kapoor also shows him in the fullness of his warmth, humour and generosity-an impresario of memorable festivities who gathered family, friends, colleagues and students into his cosmopolitan embrace. And we meet him as the poet who, even in the midst of personal loss and terminal illness, lent his soaring voice to the resistance against injustice, whether in Kashmir or Palestine. To those who were blessed to know Shahid, this book will bring lost times alive. To those who did not know him, it offers a beautiful introduction.

Product Details

Title: AMap of Longings
Author: Manan Kapoor
SKU: BK0452110
EAN: 9780670092772
Language: English
Binding: Hardcover
Release date: May 24, 2021

About Author

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

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