Agha Shahid Ali

Agha Shahid Ali

Birth
New Delhi, Delhi Capital Territory, India
Death 8 Dec 2001 (aged 52)
Amherst, Hampshire County, Massachusetts, USA
Burial
Plan a trip here
Northampton, Hampshire County, Massachusetts, USA
Memorial ID 95037275 · View Source
Suggest Edits

Agha Ali, 52; Teacher, Poet Cited for His “Technical Virtuosity”
LA Times, CA, Thursday 27 Dec 2001
Agha Shahid Ali, 52, a poet who was a finalist for the National Book Award in poetry this year, died Dec. 8 in Amherst, Mass., of complications from a brain tumor.
Born in New Delhi, Ali grew up a Muslim in Kashmir, attending Catholic schools taught by Irish priests. He later lived in Indiana, where his parents were studying. He earned advanced degrees from Penn State University and the University of Arizona. He became a permanent resident of the U.S. in 1975, taught frequently in leading universities and later obtained U.S. citizenship.
Eight books of his poetry have been published. Of "Rooms Are Never Finished," his most recent book, which was nominated for the National Book Award, Carol Muske Dukes wrote in The Times:
"What is timeless in these poems is the power of grief--sheer cliffs and drops of despair that he masters and spins into verse with astonishing technical virtuosity, employing his favorite form, the ancient ghazal, a leitmotif shaping a solemn, impassioned music."

Agha Shahid Ali, National Book Award Poetry Finalist
Miami Herald, Florida, Sunday 30 December 2001
Agha Shahid Ali, a Kashmiri-American poet who was a finalist for the 2001 National Book Award in Poetry, has died in Amherst, Mass. Ali was 52 and a resident of Brooklyn, N.Y.
The cause of death was brain cancer.
Ali was named a finalist for his book of poems Rooms Are Never Finished, which W.W. Norton published in November. Almost 30 of its pages involve an elegy to his mother, who also died of brain cancer.
Grief and violence were among his themes.
In the poem Of Light, published in the journal Poetry this year, he wrote: ''From History tears learn a slanted understanding of the human face torn by blood's bulletin.''
Ali died on Dec. 8. He was born in New Delhi and grew up in Kashmir as well as Indiana in the United States, where his parents were studying. He moved to the United States permanently in 1975.
Ali earned degrees from two universities in India and three universities in the United States. He taught at several American universities and colleges.
When Ali became a finalist for the National Book Award, the poet laureate of Maryland, Michael Collier, wrote: ''As a Kashmiri, Ali is aware of the historical vicissitudes that breed violence and hatred in people who once lived together peacefully. His poems speak to the enduring qualities of love and friendship. With elegance and wit, they also speak to the difficulty of maintaining such relationships.''
Another American poet, Michael Palmer, cited Ali's links to poets varying from the Urdu-language Faiz Ahmed Faiz to the Spaniard Federico Garcia Lorca. Ali helped introduce American poets to a venerable Persian poetic form, the ghazal.
Cultural ties and divisions were also themes of his.
In his poem Farewell he wrote: ''In the lake the arms of temples and mosques are locked in each other's reflections.''
But another says: ''A language must measure up to one's native dust. Divided between two cultures, I spoke a language foreign even to my ears.''
He spoke a combination of Urdu and English as a child, but he wrote all his poetry in English.
Eight books of his poems have been published, and Norton plans to publish another in 2003.
Ali is survived by his father, brother and two sisters.


Inscription

Agha Shahid Ali/Kashmiri-American Poet/They ask me to tell them what Shahid means: Listen, Listen:/It means "the beloved" in Persian, "witness" in Arabic

"The Beloved Witness"/February 4 1949/December 8 2001


Sponsored by Ancestry

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

  • Created by: P.K. Magruder
  • Added: 8 Aug 2012
  • Find A Grave Memorial 95037275
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Agha Shahid Ali (4 Feb 1949–8 Dec 2001), Find A Grave Memorial no. 95037275, citing Bridge Street Cemetery, Northampton, Hampshire County, Massachusetts, USA ; Maintained by P.K. Magruder (contributor 47017377) .