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This imaginative approach to the work of the Urdu poet Ghalib (1797-1869) presents highly original renderings, made by seven well-known American poets, of Ghalib's ghazals. The ghazals (poems consisting of at least five unrelated couplets) show a time when old values were breaking down with no new ones to take their place. Aijaz Ahmad began by selecting thirty-seven of the ghazals for literal translation. These versions were then given to the American poets who made poetic interpretations of those ghazals which interested them. The resulting variety of interpretation is remarkable, and indicates the evocativeness of Ghalib's poetry. The complete volume, which offers a fascinating insight into poetic creation as well as the work of this unfamiliar poet, consists of Aijaz Ahmad's introduction to Ghalib poetry, the ghazals in Urdu, the literal versions, with explanatory notes and the poems written by the American poets in response to the ghazals.
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Aijaz Ahmad is at Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi.Language Notes:
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