In celebration of the publication of The Veiled Suite: The Collected Poems of Agha Shahid Ali (W. W. Norton), New York Universitys Creative Writing Program will host the fourth Agha Shahid Ali Memorial Reading on Friday, February 27, at 7 p.m. This special event takes place at the NYU Silver Center, Hemmerdinger Hall, 100 Washington Square East (at Waverly Place). It is free and open to the public and is co-sponsored by W. W. Norton & Company.
The celebration features readings from Alis work by Nicholas Christopher, Michael Collier, Daniel Hall, Marie Ponsot, Grace Schulman, Tom Sleigh, Jean Valentine, and Chuck Wachtel, with an introduction by Alis brother Iqbal Agha and a graduate student reading by Solmaz Sharif.
The Veiled Suite is a testament to Alis writing career and a tribute to the poet who introduced the ghazal - a Persian poetic form - to an American audience. In his foreword, Daniel Hall says, His poems sounded like no one elses, no doubt because of the remarkable range and variety of his sources: the literatures of several continents; Bollywood, Hollywood, and art-house cinema; classical Indian and classical European music; and American pop.
Ali was born in New Delhi and grew up in Kashmir. He was on the poetry faculty of the University of Utah and Warren Wilson College, taught at Hamilton College and the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and held visiting professorships at Princeton, NYU, and elsewhere. His collections of poetry include The Half-Inch Himalayas, A Walk Through the Yellow Pages, A Nostalgists Map of America, and in November 2001, Rooms Are Never Finished. He died in December 2001.