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Poetry. Asian & Asian American Studies. Middle Eastern Studies.
“Like Mir, Shaw and Lee have taken a classic text and recast it in the furnace of their imaginations. Here is a Mir never seen in English before, witty, rhetorically complex, embodying passion, and making us laugh painfully with his skillfully deployed humor. Here are his poems, no longer receding into the past like ships in the mist, no longer separated from us by the veil of language. They sprout from the ground with color and energy, and in this book, reinvented, they live.” —Tony Barnstone, Professor of English Whittier College, Poet, Author, co-translator of Faces Hidden in the Dust: Selected Ghazals of Ghalib
“Rendered hemistich by hemistich, Mir’s verses come alive with the poet’s aesthetic vitalities, his two worlds – the mundane and the divine, his philosophy of love and life. The translations carry a certain aura of light and shade emanating from the original Mir text. The joy these translations offer lies not so much in transcending the strict bonds of the ghazal artifice as in the enhancement of the virtues of what is being said. Their excellence emerges from free versions, escape from self-indulgence; commendable. The translators have attempted the primacy of the original and sustained fidelity with passion and precision.” —Bhupender Parihar Aziz, Urdu poet and translator, author, Ghalib: Decolonizing Meaning
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Mir Taqi Mir was the first of the great poets of Urdu. He was also the most prolific. His works include more than 13,500 couplets, made up of more than 27,000 lines of poetry. His poems span many traditional genres, including rubaiyat (quatrains), masnavi (long rhymed narratives), qasida (lyric odes), and the ghazal. However, most of his poems are ghazals. He is regarded as the master of the Urdu ghazal. His distinctive style and language, blending Persian poetics with ordinary Urdu created a pattern of Urdu ghazal that has been imitated by subsequent generations of poets. All great Urdu poets have paid homage to Mir in their work, including Urdu's greatest poet, Ghalib.
Bilal A. Shaw is a Kashmiri-American scientist who completed his Ph.D. from the University of Southern California in quantum information science. With Tony Barnstone he recently published Faces Hidden in the Dust: Selected Ghazals of Ghalib (White Pine Press, 2022). Some of these ghazals have been published in Literary Matters, Able Muse, Arroyo Literary Review, and Pratik. He currently lives and works in Santa Monica, California.
Anthony A. Lee, Ph.D. (History, UCLA, 2007) is retired as a lecturer in African American history at UCLA and now continues his research as an independent scholar. He is the General Editor of the academic series, Studies in the Babi and Baha'i Religions (Kalimat Press, 1982- ), now in its twenty-eighth volume. He translated, with Amin Banani and Jascha Kessler, Tahirih: A Portrait in Poetry: Selected Poems of Qurratu'l-`Ayn (Kalimat Press, 2005). Also with Amin Banani, Rumi: 53 Secrets from the Tavern of Love (White Cloud Press, 2014); with Nesreen Akhtarkhavari, Love Is My Savior: Arabic Poems of Rumi (MSU Press, 2016), Wine of Reunion: Arabic Poems of Rumi (MSU Press, 2017), and Desert Sorrows: Poems of Tayseer al-Sboul (MSU Press: 2015).